Scandinavian Horror

I’ve never been more convinced as of late, on how great the Scandinavian horror scene has got.   With only one true disappointment (2012’s Thale).  Though a lot of the movies I have recently been enamored with aren’t new movies, they are too me – for the most part.

Looks intriguing right?  lol yea it does....

Looks intriguing right? lol yea it does….

They have a totally different horror cadence then their American counterparts.  Take 2006’s Cold Prey.  It is like 50% of all horror movies out there, typical group of friends going out on an adventure, someone gets hurt and they seek shelter in an abandoned hotel (pretty cool).  Instead of a relaxing with drinks and sex, they end up battling a lone, faceless killer.

In it’s description, it isn’t terribly original nor particularly frightening, however it just feels different then a Jason-type movie we make in the U.S.    They even made two more follow ups.  The second I watched, it wasn’t quite as good, but still enjoyable.



It maybe the use of environment that subtly changes the feel of these films.  Like that of the semi-recent Icelandic film, Harpoon: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre.  Though not a great movie, it still has a unique setting.  Imagine Leatherface’s family trying to butcher people on a boat.  In fact, Gunnar Hansen who played the original Leatherface (who is born in Iceland) makes a small appearance as a boat captain.   The change in scenery is something that gives the movie an extra special element that it wouldn’t have received if it were in a house.

Not only are they adept at making gory-slash em’ ups, but they can make effective psychological horrors too.  The other day I saw two that were very cool.  2005’s Next door and 2011’s The Monitor.

Next door has the honorarium or being the first Norwegian film to be rated 18 (Which I assume is our equivalent of a NC-17 rating?) – in over 17 years.  Though I didn’t find much to support such a rating.  (There is some nudity, graphic language, and one messed up situation).  Highly recommend that movie.  Good twists, and not twists just to be twists, but organic and not forced.

The Monitor stars Noomi Rapace, whose claim to fame was the hugely popular Millenium Trilogy (Amongst the great Scandinavian films) .  She plays a once abused woman who lives alone with her son, in hiding from her abusive husband.  Through her insanely overprotective nature, she buys a baby monitor to have in her sons from whilst he sleeps.  One night, she hears the awful  screams of a child getting hurt.  From there it takes many turns, some you aren’t able to grasp until right at the end.  Very effective, very well paced and acted.

Cold Prey

Cold Prey

There are a few that have gotten big praise over the past few years.  Let the Right One In, Dead Snow and Trollhunter.  All of which are introducing people to the greatness of Scandinavian Film.

Let the Right One In is one of the finest suspense/horror (because of Vampires) that I have seen.  So much so, the director has gone and directed a Academy award nominated movie, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  If you have seen either of these films, you are missing out.

Dead Snow is another “typical” set up.  Friends go out for adventure…etc.  Enter…Nazi Zombies.  Once I heard that, I was sold.  Great gore, and even great suspense in the first half of the movie.  Very funny.

TrollHunter I absolutely loved.  I usually don’t go for “found footage” horrors or documentary style horror, but they absolutely nailed it.  They only give you bits and pieces until near the end.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it isn’t really a horror film, but awesome nonetheless.

Again, the landscape makes a huge impression on the watcher.  The spectacular hills and mountains, with bright green meadows, shining rivers and lakes.  Picturesque hamlets and cities nestled snugly in a deep green valleys.  You can easily imagine grotesque gargantuan trolls roaming the wilds of Norway.

242468There are still many I need to get my hands on.  I look forward to their quirky, almost antiquated sense of humor, their liberal ideals and attitudes toward sex and nudity.  It’s not quite as exploitive that it is in U.S. films.  Everyone likes to see a pretty girl naked, I of course do, but used in a relevant way.

2 Responses to “Scandinavian Horror”
  1. Andrew says:

    Let the Right One In, Trollhunter, and Dead Snow were all fantastic. I haven’t seen the other ones. But I’ll have to check them out. Nice post!

    • paulickert says:

      Yea! Let me know if you liked them! Or if you have any recommendations. I am always looking for good movies!

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