Review: Jade Warrior

Sometimes the most interesting movies come from the most unlikely and surprising teams. Jade Warrior is a Finnish-Chinese production that mixes an old Finnish poem with Chinese martial arts fantasy. In old times, the few who could write did not write “stories” or “books”, they wrote what we would call poems or verses. Beowulf is…

Review: Mara

Most of Sweden’s “real” horror movies are independent low-budget films, like Mara, which started production in 2009 and is now finally ready to unleash its thrills and chills on viewers. In an old Scandinavian tradition, Mara revolves around Jenny, a blonde 20-something who visits a cabin in the woods with some friends in order to…

Review: Legends of Valhalla – Thor

It’s no surprice that Vikings and Norse mythology are the themes of Legends of Valhalla: Thor, the first animated feature film made on Iceland. In a small nation, it is relatively easy to be the first with something. Iceland’s first horror film came in 2009, and their first animated feature (this film) was released in…

Review: Retro

 Horror films comes in all sizes and shapes; there are studio films, B-movies, low budget independents, and super-low budget amateur films. And then there is Retro, filmed with whatever the creators could find for free. To be fair, the Halloween monster masks used in Retro may have cost some money, perhaps 200 dollars alltogether, but…

Review: Blood Tracks

After more than 25 years as a cult film circulating on fourth generation video tapes and later illegal torrents, Blood Tracks is finally available on DVD, as it deserves. During the 1980s, Mats Helge Olsson directed a series of low budget action films that the Swedish film establishment simply scoffed at. Unless you made weird…

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…

Review: Thale

Apart from offering a number of puns related to the film’s title, Thale is perhaps this year’s most original and unusual fantasy film. The first wave of Norwegian horror films, in the early and mid 00s, were copies of American slashers. I guess that is how you introduce a new genre to local audiences; by…

Review: Familien Bergs erfaringer

Produced as part of a horror anthology of four short films in 2008 and 2009, Familien Bergs erfaringer is a traditional story about well functioning people trapped in a deadly forest. Directed by Pål Øie, who started the Norwegian horror wave in 2003 with Dark Woods and would later direct the horror-thriller Hidden (2009), Familien…

Review: The substitute

A sci-fi horror thriller for 9-12 year old kids, helmed by one of Denmark’s leading genre directors, Ole Bornedal. It seems like you can’t make a movie for children or teens without relating it to their school situation, so when Ole Bornedal, director of the Danish horror hit Night Watch (1994 – and its 1997…

Review: Manhunt

In the 00s, Norwegian mainstream horror has grown and established its own scene, with Manhunt being the definitive highlight. While Norwegian horror films since the early 00s, when the current wave emerged, never managed to innovate or break new ground, many films have attracted great audiences and respectable reviews. Apparently, the films drew crowds that were…

Review: Sauna

Finland is not known for a great number of things, but their sauna – hot steam baths – is an international icon and therefore not surprisingly the theme of the historical horror film, Sauna. Set in the year 1595 on the soon-to-be border between Russia and Finland, a group of lower government officials are mapping…

Review: The Visitors

Sweden’s most popular haunted house movie, The Visitors, is a fun family romp, full of clichés but not hard to digest. The Nordic region bloomed late in terms of genre cinema and video films (Norway got its horror wave in the 00s, and Sweden and Denmark never got it), and when they finally caved in…

Review: The last reality show

Sweden was in the 90s a pionéer in developing reality TV, or what they call it; documentary-soap. It is perhaps fitting then, that The last reality show to end them all aired on TV6 in Sweden this spring. Commissioned by and debuting on TV6, a minor channel in the Nordic TV3 network, The last reality show (original…

Review: Iron Sky

Finland’s space Nazis are finally here to show us what they are good for. But can the fact that they eat a lot of sauerkraut be a good sign? One of the most anticipated non-Hollywood genre films of the last few years is Iron Sky, a science fiction comedy that has been in development since…

Review: Marianne

The debut feature of director-writer Filip Tegstedt, Marianne is a solid and haunting story about nightmares, a broken family and mental pain… which may not only be in the minds of the sufferers. In the Swedish chiller Marianne, Tomas Hedengran plays Krister, a middle aged teacher and father of two daughters. His wife was killed…