Those Foreigners Are On Fire: 10 Amazing Nordic Horror Films
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale: I’ve seen countless critics bash Rare Exports to the North Pole and back. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea why this pic has been so heavily panned. It’s a Christmas themed production that paints the holiday a crimson red. But it does so by completely manipulating all pre-established beliefs and cinematic tropes. Holiday horror films tend to stick to basic ideology; Santa Claus is routinely a menacing antagonist. But this story deviates on a grand scale. An evil Santa isn’t the primary rogue, instead viewers come face to face with a throng of naked elves. And these elves are completely dedicated to creating carnage and ensuring the safety of the long dormant Claus. Can’t have Santa wake to turmoil, after all; let his minions handle the dirty work. The film looks beautiful, the set locations are gorgeous and we get an atypical examination of a legendary character that’s long been perceived as the consummate good guy. How wrong we’ve been! Want a truly eerie Christmas movie to toss in the Blu-ray player? This is it.
Let the Right One In: I do believe this one may have originated in Sweden, but you know what? Fuck it. Close enough. And for the record, it’s a mind boggling piece of work that stands as one of the absolute finest vampire films ever shot. The picture homes in on two outcast youngsters, one of which is a wildly aggressive vampire (well, she’s only wildly aggressive when the hunger comes on), the other a perennial victim of neighborhood bullies. When the two kids become friendly, the film’s bloodsucker notices, and doesn’t take kindly to the torment her little buddy has been subjected to. What’s she do? Slaughter, of course. The atmosphere of this film is as close to unrivaled as possible, and the sheer aesthetics of the film will leave you completely stunned. This is an upper echelon piece of artwork that capitalizes on infectious visuals and an atmospheric impact that you just don’t see too often.
The Whore: Let’s keep this real straight forward. The Whore is essentially Norway’s answer to I Spit on Your Grave. However, in my personal opinion, it’s vastly superior to the I Spit on Your Grave films. Perhaps a bit less exploitative (I’m really not sure that’s entirely accurate), The Whore gets it right by placing believable and gut wrenching actions in motion. I’m not out to tell you the film is any tamer (for lack of a better word) than its American counter parts, but I will tell you this: somehow, someway – it feels like an immeasurably more refined film. It looks amazing, and perhaps more importantly, it manages to be far more impacting than any of the I Spit on Your Grave pic. Writer/director, Reinert Kiil assembled a picture that refuses to escape the mind. Once you see this one, you just cannot un-see it! Top notch work right here!
The Monitor: First off, I’ve got to confess my steadfast celeb crush on Noomi Rapace. I think she’s gorgeous, powerful and above all, a terrific performer. When this woman fronts a film, I pay full attention. As for The Monitor itself, it’s extremely intriguing. This is a high quality, well-written mystery with some haunting sequences and a few jarring moments. The locale restraints could have worked against the film, but this isn’t one that requires any mammoth setup or grand shooting locations. The Monitor is all about character examination, and the execution pays off big. I don’t feel comfortable labeling this one an outright character study, but it’s damn close, and it’s damn spellbinding despite a basic concept and a razor thin production budget. If you’re into movies that prod the brain and leave you contemplating cinema, The Monitor is a homerun.
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