The Perfumier review: Intriguing premise but underwhelming execution

In ‘The Perfumier’, a detective attempts to regain her lost sense of smell by dealing with a maniacal perfume maker with a horrific dream. The German thriller film is now streaming on Netflix.


Detective Sunny (Emilia Schule) is having an affair with one of her colleagues, Juro (Robert Finster). She lost her sense of smell as a child after a cold.

Dorian (Ludwig Simon), is a perfume maker who wants to create a scent that forces people to fall in love. For this, he requires the harvesting of corpses’ skin and sweat glands.

This is where Rex (Anne Muller) comes in. She murders and provides the material to Dorian for creating the love perfume, as both crave love in their lives.

Sunny finds Dorian to be the perfect individual to bring her sense of smell back. But getting embroiled with such a man could prove her undoing.

The most prominent theme of the narrative is desire; Sunny’s desire to regain her sense of smell and Dorian’s desire to be loved.


Emilia Schule and Ludwig Simon deliver decent performances as the two most important characters in the film.

Schule’s Sunny is a complex individual who has everything far from figured out and she brings that earnestness to the character. Dorian is outright deranged and the most interesting part of the entire show. Simon captures him in an excellent manner.

Anne Muller is adequate as Rex. Apart from them, nobody has enough screen time to impress.


The Perfumier starts out strong and gets the eerie atmosphere right. You’re immediately intrigued by the premise of the film as well as the characters of Sunny and Dorian.

The pacing is apt. At a runtime of just over one hour and thirty minutes, the film never drags and keeps things ticking.


Disappointingly, The Perfumier is never able to build effectively on the promising premise. You quickly start to question where this is headed.

The film, itself, feels confused about whether it aims to be realistic or supernatural. Dorian’s sense of smell has been needlessly exaggerated.

In one instance, he is able to sense whether another person, far away, is alive or not without ever hinting at him having any such ability.

At no point does it build up enough suspense for you to be at the edge of your seat. It’s just reveal after reveal, sometimes making no sense.

If the writing had been tighter, the concept of regaining lost smell and the hubris of Dorian had the potential to be explored much better. Instead, what we get is a plot that just about passes as a basic thriller. 


The Perfumier has a few parts that work, but on a whole, it is an underwhelming watch at best. If you’re an ardent fan of thrillers, you might just want to put this on your checklist. If not, there’s not much on offer.

The Perfumier
The Perfumier review: Intriguing premise but underwhelming execution 1

Director: Nils Willbrandt

Date Created: 2022-09-21 17:43

Editor's Rating:

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