Review: De utsatta

An abandoned hospital, the ghost of a little girl, a doctor who did cruel things. That’s the basis for this Swedish chiller, filmed at a former sanatorium.

One of things you learn at film school, in order to cut costs, is to “shoot on location” so you don’t have to build sets. In this low budget Swedish ghost movie, an old hospital is used exactly like that;it adds tremendous production value to a film that otherwise had a budget of around 9000 dollars. The story is, at first glance, rather traditional: Six people get caught in a snow storm and seek refuge in the nearest building, which turns out to be a closed hospital (still in very good shape, it seems). There they are forced to expose themselves not only to eachother, but also to “something else” which turns out to be a ghost.

The director Daniel Ström is a professional photographer, but otherwise the film is more a community project, with amateurs in front of the camera and volunteers behind it, it seems. The technical aspects must therefore be judged with low expectations, but what makes the film interesting though, is that it fleshes out all the characters, including the ghost itself. We’re introduced to each character enough to understand where they are coming from mentally, which is not always a pleasant place! Furthermore, the film does something out of the ordinary and tells the story from the perspective of the ghostly girl. Her background, psyche and motivations are investigated in various ways, however it can still be questioned why she had to murder some of the people in brutal ways. Even though the story indeed is a little traditional considering the location and the ghost, the script angles from which the characters are shown are quite interesting and most of the time completely satisfying.

Aside from many talky scenes, the film also offers some nice stunt work (for such a low budget), including a fire stunt, a fall from high altitude and the wrecking of a car. The make-up effects are quite good too, and in particular the photography stands out as excellent on some occasions. Not surprising considering the director’s day job.

De utsatta, which means something like The Exposed Ones (there is no official English title I am aware of), is a commendable effort, considering the budget and the amateur status of the involved actors.

Directed by Daniel Ström.

Rated 6 of 10.

Sweden, 2011.