An overview of fantasy, sci-fi and horror films in 2012 from the most interesting genre film country of the Nordic region, Norway.
Even though both Denmark and Sweden are generally perceived as more interesting countries for the serious film fan, Norway offers more in the fantastical genres. After the success of Troll Hunter in 2010 and 2011, this year promises to be another good year for audiences in Norway. Hopefully, most of these films will make it to the rest of the world as well, on DVD or at festivals, or simply online. Included here is also TV projects and low budget amateur productions.
Dauinger / Dead People (children’s horror)
The TV series Dauinger, which is Norwegian slang for “dead people”, is about ghost hunters and dead people, written by famous author Arne Berggren and intended for children aged 9 – 12. The 8-part miniseries will be directed by Margret Bergheim and Berggren, and will air on government broadcaster NRK probably in the fall of 2012.
Dead World (horror)
This indie miniseries, currently planned in at least two parts with each lasting about 20 minutes, is about about madness, decay and human alienation. The series will chronicle the stories of survivors in an apocalyptic, zombified universe, where the fate of characters converge, untold stories find unlikely voices and the dead long for absolution. The project, which may extend to further episodes, is a low budget production but with professional people behind camera. Written and directed by Jon Helge Hesby. The series is currently in production and is expected to be ready sometime this spring, to be made available on DVD and BluRay (the series is filmed in HD) online.
The Tunnel (science fiction)
This short film, which recieved funding in early 2011, is based on the sci-fi short story The Tunnel Ahead written by Alice Glaser in 1961. The story takes place in a time with extreme overpopulation, with people living in megacities. One way to cure the problem is to let the gates of tunnels leading into the cities close at random moments, and everyone who are inside them will be killed. The script is written by André Øvredal (director of smash hit The Troll Hunter). The film has a total budget of 443.000 dollars and starts shooting in the end of January, under the direction of Øvredal, and is expected to be finished in June. Distribution is not decided yet, but will possibly be shown at festivals, including Grimstad and Sundance.
Flukt / Escape (adventure)
From the director of horror hit Cold Prey, Roar Uthaug, comes the medium-budgeted Medieval action-adventure film Flukt, which means “escape”. The film takes place 10 year after the Black Death had wiped out half of Norway’s population (historical fact). A poor family is searching for a better life, but is captured by thugs, and only 19 year old Signe survives the slaughter. She realizes that her only option to live on is to escape from her capturers. Uthaug says to Nordic Fantasy; “There is no direct horror in Escape, I’d call it survival action. But it is a kind of post-apocalyptic story, as it takes place after the black death. Things have been stretched quite far in the adventures, even if it’s done in a gritty and realistic way.” Starring Ingrid Bolsø Berdal from the Cold Prey movies, and Kristian Espedal, Richard Skog, Isabel Andreasen, Milla Olin, Tobias Santelmann, Hallvard Holmen and Irene Reppen. Opens theatrically on September 28th.
Thale (fantasy thriller)
A fantasy story with roots in Nordic folklore, which starts when two crime scene cleaners discover a hidden cellar under a cabin. The cellar conceals a mysterious girl; a secret some would go far to keep. She turns out to be a beautifully looking wood spirit known as hulder, a kind of succubus, who is known for seducing men, in spite of her cow’s tale. Starring Silje Reinåmo as the hulder, and Jon Sigve Skard and Erlend Nervold. Written and directed by Aleksander Nordaas. The 77 minute film opens theatrically on February 17.
Journey to the Christmas Star (fantasy)
Big budget family fantasy for Christmas, about a young princess who is looking for the actual Christmas star. During her search, which was not supervised by her parents, she gets lost and is found by a group of actors, who return to the kingdom a few years later, now with the princess being grown up. Possibly the first ever Norwegian remake, Journey to the Christmas Star is directed by acclaimed director Nils Gaup (Pathfinder, Head above water) and is scheduled to be released theatrically on November 12.
This professionally produced but independently funded feature film is directed by Finn-Erik Rognan and Nils J. Nesse from a script by Nesse. It starts in the year 1695 when a girl is accused of witchcraft. She is thrown into a lake and the local population starts to think a curse is infecting the village. 300 years later, a theatre company arrives with the purpose of staging a play about the witch processes, but one night their lead actor is missing. Inspired by real events that happened in 1948 and 1995. Starring Miriam Prestøy Lie, Reidar Sørensen, Brage Bang, Marit Østbye, Sven Henriksen, Hanne-Marte Sørlie, Ingar Helge Gimle. Opens theatrically in the fall of 2012.
The thrill of a kill (horror)
A low budget amateur feature which is supposed to include gore, violence, rape, abuse, nudity, cannibalism and torture – all set in the beautiful Norwegian woods! After argueing with her mom, Kimsy walks out of the house, angry as hell. Taking a hike into the forest usually calms her nerves, but this day she meets a helpful photographer. Little does she know that this will mark the beginning of a day filled with all the above mentioned “entertainment”. The 5000 dollar film is billed as horror/splatter/exploitation/comedy and is directed by Lars Erik Lie. Scheduled to come out on DVD from AWE in April.
Blood Path (horror)
Blodstien (aka. Blood Path) is a no-budget forest slasher scheduled to come out in 2011, but production halted and now it may come out sometime in 2012.
Welcome to the Zombie Apocalypse (horror)
A 15 minute amateur/indie short that is scheduled to be filmed the last weekend of January. About three survivors of a zombie apocalypose who takes refuge in a bomb shelter. After a few days they hear a cry for help from the outside. The film will be directed by Kine Skimten Andersen on a budget of about 1000 dollars, and is a Norwegian/Australian co-production with the shooting taking place in Norway and post-production in Australia, by students. Scheduled airdate is April 2012, after which the film will be sent to festivals around the world, including Sydney’s horror film festival.
Hellfjord (horror / comedy)
We are not sure about the actual horror content of this 7-part TV series, which is commissioned by Norwegian state broadcaster NRK, but it can possibly be described as “Twin Peaks on acid”. Twitchfilm labels the series as “a horror comedy” and it is being directed by a number of interesting helmers, including Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), Patrik Syversen (Manhunt and Prowl), Sebastian Dalén (Tomme Tønner), and Roar Uthaug (Cold Prey). The series is produced by the team who made Kill Buljo and Legend of the fjord witch but is vastly better funded that those low budget indies. Hellfjord is the story of the urban police officer Salmander – second generation Pakistani immigrant – who after somewhat accidentally killing his police horse in front of thousands of children gets relocated to the location farthest north in Norway; Hellfjord. The place is populated by simple-minded people keenly interested in keeping to themselves. But when Salmander scratches the surface, he discovers a secret that will turn Hellfjord upside down. Starring are Norwegian comedian Zahid Ali, Dead Snow‘s Stig Frode Henriksen, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Cold Prey), Pihla Viitala (Harpoon and Hansel And Gretel), and Thomas Hanzon (Wallander). The budget for a total of 210 minutes of TV is 2.8 million dollars and the show is expected to air on NRK sometime in 2012.
Some of these movies have already created international buzz. Thale, which benefits from following in the wake of Troll Hunter, seems so promising that the director has gotten an American agent for possible US films. Journey to the Christmas Star is the first Norwegian film to be distributed internationally by Disney, and Hellfjord also has international potential, in fact it was sold to foreign broadcasters when it was only halfway through shooting. While Sweden and Denmark are respected for their art-house films, Norway is indeed the country to look to for trolls, gore and terror!
We also note the near total absence of science fiction, the only exception being one short film that has not even been ordered by any TV network or distributor yet. For small countries, sci-fi is prohibitively expensive to produce, which may explain the constant lack of sci-fi from the Nordic region. Some children’s movies like Kenny Starfighter, and animated features like Journey to Saturn do pop up now and then, but mature sci-fi projects are few and far between. Why not join forces, Nordic producers?
Do you know of other Norwegian films or TV series in the pipeline for 2012 or beyond? Drop us a note or make a comment below.
Thale teaser video: