You begin as almost a no budget, badly written, and mildly scary movie that tracks a pair of forensics cleaners working a remote job who stumble upon a fortified underground bunker belonging to the deceased they are cleaning up after. The slow pace as we meet the pro-cleaner Leo and his ‘ill-equipped for this work,’ constantly hurling long time pal Elvis, belies what will, before long, be an interesting and intense film.
As the duo explores this underground lair, the ever sensitive Elvis starts to exude the creep that soon permeates everything in this film. Skilled filmmaker Aleksander Nordaas languidly explores this bizarre environment while building suspense to fine-tuned pitch, even before we meet Thale.
But, by the time Thale (played with a spooky brilliance by Silje Reinåmo,) literally pops up, the creep factor just escalates and the suspense continues unabated! This doesn’t feel anything like a conventional horror movie by this point, but its bizarre, mysterious and suspenseful nature still spooks me in a riveting sort of way! As the stoic and unflappable Leo tries to take the situation in hand and call for help, Elvis tries to shake off the death grip she put him in and digs around the premises some more, finally listening to log tapes left behind from what appears to be the medically trained deceased owner while trying to keep an eye on the beautiful blond Thale. As she retreats to a familiar corner of her room, she decides to trust his inquisitive and gentle gestures towards her. This is when we learn via what must be telepathy, the story of her life up until she is a young girl.
It’s all, ever so strange, and as Elvis lies writhing while Thale speaks mind to mind, Leo walks to the road and his car to get some lunch and make a call. This is when there comes that first ‘oh shit’ moment and the epiphany that this is a story about something very different indeed. As Leo makes his way back to the underground covert and a stunned Elvis tries to absorb what he has just experienced, is when we know there really is something out there. When the guys successfully barricade the three within the bunker awaiting help is when the film changes its stripes and becomes something beyond just a scary movie. It’s almost like a suspense mystery. One thing for sure, what it is – is remarkable!
Then I finally see what Leo and Elvis are up against, it is old, and of this earth yet unlike anything most of us humans are familiar with.
When help arrives it isn’t what any of us were expecting and just like everything else related to our beloved Thale, it is good and bad, yin and yang as Eline her dead caretaker learned early on when he took her as a child. There are gifts here and there is loss, there is death and there is life and ultimately there is a powerfully poignant reminder about how life will find a way where you never expect life to be. You are a small film with a big film’s audacity, not only offering a grand affirmation of Scandinavian folklore, but a reminder of filmmaking for the love and I say, bravo!
With all adoration,