Dead Snow 2 (2014)

Dead Snow 2Dead Snow 2 (also known as Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead) starts where the previous film left off, at full speed, where the only survivor, Martin (Geir Vegar Hoel), with an arm less due to cutting it off with a chainsaw after he got bitten. Things doesn’t look too good and when he thought that he’d come to peace with the zombies by giving them their precious box of gold, he forgot to add a golden coin which he had in his pocket. And of course, it isn’t over until Herzog claims that gold and has killed the last body count.

 

Things get more messy when Herzog attacks Martin’s car, which escalates with a truck that rips off Herzog’s arm that falls into the car with Martin. After it all ends with a car crash, Martin gets brought to the hospital where things get even more fucked-up. Because when he wakes up, the doctors have stitched together Herzog’s arm into his freshly sawed-off limb. Doesn’t sound too bad at first, but it turns out that the arm is something straight from Evil Dead II. But along comes an upgrade with some superpowers, which he has to learn to control.

 

Things are still pretty normal so far, but it gets out of control when Martin accidentally kills one of the patients, who’s a young kid. Yes, children gets killed here. Not just one, but a few. Oh my. All from kids playing in a sandbox to toddlers in their strollers. So be sure to have the whambulance ready on speed dial.

 

Anyway, now that Martin is in the deepest shit, with not only Nazi zombies on his tail, he’s now the number-one suspect in the country for killing his friends in the mountains. Martin needs some assistants to get out of this mess, and quickly. The kid he accidentally killed some moments ago told him something about a trio of zombie hunters, called Zombie Squad, from the USA. This group is led by Daniel (played by the Freaks and Geeks actor Martin Starr). With him, he has the two most annoying Star Wars nerds that think every snowy mountain in Norway is the filming location of Hoth. Huh, well, someone has to tell them that Dead Snow 2 was actually filmed in Iceland, for whatever reason.

 

More blood, more guts, more violence, more action, more plot, more fun, more evil Nazi motherfuckers, more insanity and other surprises is what to expect from Dead Snow 2. And this time Herzog also has a tank which he don’t waste any time to use. BANG!!!

 

Dead Snow 2 is a sequel done right on every level which surpasses the original like a sledgehammer. The film is also rich on locations where the distinct mountain landscapes of Iceland makes a grim and majestic appearance in its one unique way, even though it’s all supposed to take place in Norway. Alongside with the Zombie Squad, we have some new characters to join the epic journey to the final battle of Herzog and his army. The humor is also amped up with more gallow with a tone far more absurd and wacky than the first one, where Troma meets the early works of Peter Jackson. And it all works great like a slippery dick in a pussy, or like kuk i fitte, as we say in Norwegian. We also have some really fun kills where all from old folks in wheelchairs to kids, gays, and priests aren’t safe, and some brutal home invasion scenes. And without spoiling, unlike the trailer, there’s also a nice and inventive homage to The Return of The King here that fits perfectly. Even though the snow itself seems to have melted, it’s as fun, epic and wild as it can be. Skål, cheers and Sieg Heil!

 

According to Tommy Wirkola, the script for Dead Snow 3 has already been written years ago where there’s a hint of bringing Hitler himself to the surface. The sad thing is that actor Geir Vegar Hoel, who also worked as co-writer for this one, died in 2020 of cancer at age 47. RIP. How his passing will affect the rest of the franchise remains to be seen and now that it has already gone ten years since the release of this film, it seems more unlikely a third installment will happen. We can hope.

 

Both films are available on DVD/Blu-ray on the international market and can be dug up from Cd Universe and Amazon. And guess what: they’re also on Tubi!

 

Dead Snow 2 Dead Snow 2 Dead Snow 2

 

Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writers: Tommy Wirkola, Geir Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen
Original title: Død Snø 2
Country & year: Iceland, Norway, 2014
Actors: Geir Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas, Stig Frode Henriksen, Hallvard Holmen, Kristoffer Joner, Amrita Acharia, Derek Mears, Bjarte Tjøstheim
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2832470/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Dead Snow (2009)

Dead SnowFirst off, here’s a drinking game: Take a great shot of karsk for each time Norway/Norwegian is mentioned in this review. Now – Just like Cold Prey, we have Dead Snow, which was also a big deal upon its release back in 2009. Because of this one, we now had our first Norwegian zombie movie to finally show off, with Nazis even. And a lot of red, blood-soaked snow while the Easter sun is shining bright. Another note for the Norwegian film history books. Dead Snow became a hit at the Sundance festival that kick-started the fruitful career of Tommy Wirkola, who’s since made several films in Hollywood – most notably the Christmas action/horror flick Violent Night (2022) with John Harbour in the main role.

 

Dead Snow opens appropriately enough with Edward Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, as someone is getting chased in the mountain forest and killed by a group of, yes you guessed it, zombies. Zombies in Norway, you say? Huh, that was new. Thought they only had trolls, gnomes and brunost. Yes, but these aren’t Norwegian zombies, you see, so get ready for an upcoming history lesson. After this short and quick adrenaline-filled opening, we meet our group of body-counts/friends of four medical students who are on their way to a mountain cabin in Øksfjord, far up in the northern countryside to celebrate Easter, get drunk on beer and moonshine, party hard and the luckiest ones gets to fuck in the shithouse.

 

The party mode gets put on hold for a minute when our group of friends gets an unexpected visit from a hiker. And this guy has seen some dark shit, for sure, his face can tell. He gives them a history lesson of the notorious Nazi colonel Herzog, who with his death squad team occupied the area during WW2. They did gruesome things to the locals over a span of three years, and as our hiker says in his beautiful northern dialect:

Det hær va nånn onde SATANS jævla! Wich is best translated as: They were some EVIL motherfuckers!

 

To cut his story short: Herzog and co. stole a dose of valuables when the war was over and tried to escape over the mountains where they seemed to disappear. Legend says that they froze to death and there’s an evil lurking over the place that must not be awakened. Yeah, whatever. They only scoff at him and don’t think much of it afterward, because who in the right mind would. So, who wants another beer? It isn’t until they find some hidden old valuables and gold in the cabin crawlspace that the plot starts to thicken. Because, guess who also wants to claim that gold, other than the Leprechaun.

 

Nazi zombies aren’t something new, nor was it with Dead Snow. We can actually rewind all the way back to the 1940s and dig up the corpses of King of the Zombies and Revenge of the Zombies and the terrible cult-schlock from 1981 that is Jean Rollin’s Zombie Lake, and more. But, of course, in a cold, winter-filled Norwegian setting, this was something we never thought we’d see on a big screen. Especially considering that a film like this would have been completely banned in a gnome country like this, or at least cut to pieces to the unrecognizable if it was made in the VHS era.

 

The effects are nice and juicy and the film goes full-out with the carnage and what they had in the gore-department. Eyes get poked out in Fulci-style, heads ripped in half, bodies ripped to shreds, people hanging from someone’s fresh ripped-out intestines from a cliff as they fight zombies, some general hack and slashing and its list of references. And of course, we have some glorious chainsaw action. Approx 400 liters of fake blood was used here. Not too shabby for being the first Norwegian zombie movie.

 

It’s all done with a dose of humor with a great group of actors in some very likable roles. My favorite is Bjørn Sundquist, one of the finest legacy actors we have in Norway. His screentime is short but none other than him would be able to tell the backstory of Herzog in such a serious deadpan manner like he did. However, some of the humor may not land as much on the non-Norwegian audience, especially the classic scene towards the end with the tunes and lyrics of Åge Alexandersen’s Min Dag.

 

It also shows that this is an early film of a newcomer. It’s of course a big step forward after Wirkola’s debut with Kill Buljo in technical terms. The pacing keeps a steady track, it’s overall fun and entertaining with a lot of energy and some great use of nature scenery. But still, there are some rough edges here. Some choppy and clunky editing choices prevent some of the death scenes to shine and breathe, and the ending gives the impression that the budget just said stop. If Tommy Wirkola already had the sequel in mind, I don’t know, but Dead Snow 2, which came five years later, surely makes this more of a warm-up, or a vorspiel, as we usually say in Norway before the big party. Så det e bare for dåkk kjære hæstkuka å håll sprit’n klar.

 

Dead Snow Dead Snow Dead Snow

 

Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writers: Tommy Wirkola, Stig Frode Henriksen
Original title: Død Snø
Country & year: Norway, 2009
Actors: Geir Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jeppe Beck Laursen, Jenny Skavlan, Ane Dahl Torp, Bjørn Sundquist, Ørjan Gamst
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278340/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Cold Prey (2006)

Triangle Herre hær kjæm te å gjør littegrainnj vondt. E du klar? Æ tælle te tre.

 

And no, it wasn’t my keyboard that just had a stroke. It’s the Norwegian for This will hurt a little. Are you ready? I’m counting to three. Also in the dialect of trøndersk, just to mention.

 

The year was 2006, on Friday the 13th of October when we got our very first Norwegian slasher, titled Fritt Vilt (with the international title Cold Prey). Yay! So this wasn’t just any slasher you see, it was a cultural event that would have its new chapter in Norwegian film history. Yes I know, it’s quite strange that the country that had the biggest export of black metal, church burnings and Satan didn’t have any horror films to showcase until after the millennium. What held us back while the wave of New French Extremity was already near its peak, is a good question.

 

We, of course, had Villmark (Dark Woods) from 2003, which leans more into the thriller section, and from there on we have to rewind way, waaaay back to the year 1958 (!) with De Dødes Tjern (Lake of the Dead), which has not aged particularly well. What was left was decades of a pretty stiff, wooden and a ridiculously conservative film industry which had not much to offer other than sloggish, forgettable and painfully dry obscure drama films made for god knows who. Yawn. There were some very few exceptions much thanks to Ivo Caprino (RIP). So aside from that, a film like Cold Prey was a big fresh air in my tiny gnome country. A game changer and a complete shift on how films in Norway would be made from here on, which also included other genres.

 

With the success and the cultural impact of Cold Prey, it also opened the door to several young genre filmmakers to show their muscles, most notably Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) and André Øvredal (Troll Hunter). Roar Uthaug, along with the two mentioned, would also eventually work in Hollywood with various outcomes. But it’s also valid to say that we have our fair share of terrible, shitty horror movies and the last ten years hasn’t been much to be excited about. So I’m not being a blind patriot waving my flag here. There’s also several Norwegian horror movies that seem to be impossible to find anywhere due to lack of release and distribution, so for all I know there could be a hidden gem somewhere. The only titles I’ve seen which are worth watching from recently are Project Z and The Innocents, both from 2021. And soon Norway will give birth to its first sea monster flick called Kraken, which will start filming in the Norwegian coast later this year. So we’ll see how that one turns out.

 

Cold Prey follows a group of youngsters who are going snowboarding in the mountains of Jotunheimen. The sky is blue, the air is crisp with even some sprinkles of love, and life is good… until one of the poor bastards fall and breaks his ankle. Luckily, they find an abandoned hotel nearby where they take shelter. And nothing bad happens here. After spending the night, they get met by a rescue team and The End. I’m joking, of course. You know that they’re in deep shit when one of the in-love couple checks into one of the rooms that have the numbers 2 3 7. Redrum!

 

It’s not the biggest surprise that they’re not alone in the hotel. How boring would that be. We already learn in the opening sequence that the place has a dark history where a kid once disappeared under some questionable circumstances. Our group of friends also learn that a mysterious person called the Mountain Man lives like a hermit somewhere in the dark corners of the hotel, and kills anyone who has the nerve to trespass.

 

If the premise sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. On paper, Cold Prey is as formulaic as it can be, which basically follows the same footsteps of the most generic slasher films you’ve seen hundreds of already. There’s nothing much new on the surface here, nor was it back in 2006, and the film’s biggest sin is that it’s pretty tame with lackluster kills. The brutality from the early films of Alexandre Aja and other extreme Frenchmen are worlds apart, just to make that clear. Us slow Norwegians still have a lot to learn in the splatter and gore department, unfortunately.

 

And I almost forgot to mention that there’s no cringe sex scene here, so kudos for at least breaking that cliché.

 

That being said, there’s more to enjoy here. The setting itself gives the movie an eerie, grim vibe and the acting is solid. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal stands out as the heroine who can also handle a shotgun. The story is intriguing enough with a pacing that keeps the entertaining value on track. The film also looks fabulous, where the bleak coldness really spices up the claustrophobic tension and atmosphere. Cold Prey was filmed at Leirvassbu, a tourist cabin in Jotunheimen where the actors lived during the filming. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the isolated and stone-cold surroundings messed a little with their heads.

 

So overall, despite not being more ballsy with the violence, Cold Prey is an entertaining watch with some unique scenery, great suspense and a fine addition to winter horror. Still, I must be honest enough to say that it would work more as a horror film for beginners. This is also the directorial debut of Roar Uthaug, who in 2018 made Tomb Raider. If you want more of the primitive Norwegian landscape, check out Escape (2012), also directed by Uthaug.

 

The film got two sequels: Cold Prey II, which is more of a Halloween II (1981) ripoff, and I don’t remember much of Cold Prey III other than it was a prequel. The first two is on DVD from Anchor Bay and Shout Factory. Kos dåkk!

 

Cold Prey

 

Director: Roar Uthaug
Writers: Thomas Moldestad, Martin Sundland, Roar Uthaug
Original title: Fritt Vilt
Country & year: Norway, 2006
Actors: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Endre Martin Midtstigen, Viktoria Winge, Rune Melby, Erik Skjeggedal, Tonie Lunde, Hallvard Holmen
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808276/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

The Innocents (2021)

The InnocentsIda is a 9-year old girl who moves to a seemingly normal and boring suburban neighborhood with her parents and her older sister, Anna, who has non-speaking autism. It’s also during the summer holiday, and with enough free time Ida starts exploring the surroundings in the nearby forests and playgrounds. She meets a young boy, Ben, who shows her one of his special tricks: he’s able to sling rocks with his mind. Ida is curious and delighted by seeing his Carrie-esque ability, and after meeting another girl with a special ability, Aisha, who is seeming to bond nicely with Anna on the playground, the foursome start playing together. However, their innocent intentions inevitably end up taking a dark turn.

 

De Uskyldige (The Innocents) is a Norwegian supernatural thriller from 2021, written and directed by Eskil Vogt. The title of the film, as suggested, challenge the perceived notion that children are inherently innocent. Through their play, one gets to see the thin line between what is simple and childish fun, and how little it can take to tread over the barrier into something outright evil. While horror movies have its own sub-genre for “evil children”, this movie differs in its depiction of them. When most horror movies about evil kids are either about them being demonic/possessed, monsters, or total psychopaths, this movie displays a group of kids where some of them simply have supernatural abilities, while they are still very much normal children in a normal world…and not all of them grow up under good circumstances. For this reason, the movie makes an obvious effort to describe how childish innocence can be completely tainted by awful parenting and a toxic living environment. This is a movie seen from the children’s perspective, and the adults in the movie are merely bystanders. The children are living out their secret lives in the playground, in the forest, in the surrounding areas, just “playing”. Like most children do, without their parents ever really knowing exactly what they’ve been up to, and don’t really care either as long as they’re home in time for dinner or curfew.

 

The child actors are all doing a controlled and convincing display of their characters, which is important since the movie is heavily carried along due to the performances by the actors. There’s equal amount of childish glee in their faces when they have fun, as well as obvious fear and confusion when things go wrong. It’s never really any outright in-your-face horror (aside from a couple scenes that are quite uncomfortable to watch), but it’s creeping steadily under your skin, where you always have the anticipation of something going wrong. And of course, it really does.

 

De Uskyldige (The Innocents) is a slow burning thriller which gradually turns up the heat, and the underlying tension builds up in a way that grips you from start to finish.

 

The Innocents The Innocents The Innocents

 

Writer and director: Eskil Vogt
Original Title: De Uskyldige
Country & year: Norway, 2021
Actors: Rakel Lenora Fløttum, Alva Brynsmo Ramstad, Sam Ashraf, Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Morten Svartveit, Kadra Yusuf, Lisa Tønne
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt4028464/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prosjekt Z (2021)

Prosjekt Z

We’re in the 1980s somewhere in the Norwegian forests, where the young couple Rebecca and Thomas are on a car trip. They run over a dog, and assume that the owner lives in the old victorian-styled hotel not so far away. Rebecca takes on the task to enter the hotel, which seems to be abandoned at first glance. But a horde of zombies suddenly show up, with the transsexual zombie-hotel owner itself Mor Monsen (Mother Monsen). This is not really happening, by the way, we are at the beginning of a clunky student film called “De Døde Våkner” (The Dead Awakens) and we get a series of behind-the-scenes footage that documents the film shooting, that goes from chaotic to the brink of disaster, and a showcase of how the film industry may not be as glamorous as one might think.

 

We meet the insecure director Julie Lundgreen with a big ego who has her script carved in stone, and is constantly in a protecting mode of “her vision” while the film’s main character, Rebecca, played by Iben Akarlie, is a feminist who tries to persuade the director to skip the scene where she has a threesome with two zombies. Nearly everyone are obviously amateurs, and gets really starstruck when they hear that the veteran Dennis Storhøi, which is one of the biggest movie stars from Norway, will play the role of the transsexual zombie. It does not take long before he starts fighting with the film crew and makes the director cry, and realizes that this is way too amateurish for a serious movie star like him, while he strongly misses the good ole’ days. So what else can go wrong here? Of course, a meteor strikes right next to the filming location, that could have been something straight from Alien, and someone is stupid enough to stick his hand in it. Not a good idea..

 

So what exactly is this? Drama? Comedy? Horror? All of the three, I would say, plus some turbulent relationship drama and how crazy you have to be to make a film with a low budget, little resources and zero experience. Meta-film, as it is called, although it is more in the mockumentary territory with a clear inspiration from The Blair Witch Project. The Japanese One Cut of the Dead also comes to mind even though this is a completely different beast. This is far from a traditional horror film, and in fact the first of its kind that has been made in Norway which puts it in a unique light. The monster scenes are placed in the back seat where the focus is mostly on the chaotic film-making, which may be a disappointment for some. What makes the film work so well is the dysfunctional relationship between the characters, and surprisingly good acting with dialogues and a dynamic that seem both organic and natural, while the line between fiction and reality gets somewhat unclear.

 

Prosjekt Z

 

There are many fun moments here, especially the scenes where the stressed director goes into full Stanley Kubrick mode and wears out the actors with an x-​​number of takes till they act badly just on purpose to taunt her. And Dennis Storhøi as the more eccentric version of himself made me laugh several times. Unlike the role he plays, he seems to really have a blast in Project Z and is one of the main reasons I will re-watch this movie several times. The only thing that does not work as well, is the ending, which seemed a bit anti-climatic.

 

Technically, the film looks really good. It’s limited with shaky-cam, which is a plus, and the aesthetic with the victorian-like surroundings gets a lot of room to shine, thanks to steady cinematography by Oskar Dahlsbakken, the brother of the director, Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken. The older audiences will also appreciate the fact that “The Dead Awakens” segments are filmed in the old-school way at 35mm, while the documentary is shot digitally in various formats. Considering that director Dahlsbakken can make two films a year, completely independently and outside the studio system, one could expect some direct-to-DVD cheapness, but it’s surprisingly competent. And the guy seems to have a good sense of humor and the ability to mix genres without it getting muddy. So yeah, it will be interesting to see what he does next. And as we speak he is already in post-production with his next horror film titled “Possession” which seems to go in a far more serious direction. I’m already excited.

 

Prosjekt Z

 

Director: Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken
Country & year: Norway, 2021
Actors: Eili Harboe, Vebjørn Enger, Iben Akerlie, Dennis Storhøi, Ole Christoffer Ertvaag, Alfred Ekker Strande, Regina Tucker, Jonis Josef, Arthur Berning, Alexandra Gjerpen, Laila Goody, Benjamin Helstad
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11444644/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mørke Sjeler (2010)

Mørke Sjeler (2008)During a morning jog through the woods, the teenager Johanna is attacked by a guy in an orange dress, who is wearing goggles and a mask. After a quick chase with some running and stumbling, he drills a hole in her head, and then places some black goo in her brain. Despite having been pronounced dead, the murder victim suddenly wakes up in the morgue and goes back home to her father: the music teacher Morten Ravn. But Johanna is not at all the same girl, but has been reduced to a disoriented, apathetic lifeless shell with a blank stare. In the meantime, more and more victims are being reported, all of whom come to life again with the same symptoms. Since the police are just a bunch of incompetent fools, Morten decides to investigate the mystery himself, uncovering an apocalyptic conspiracy that revolves around a large oil company.

 

Mørke Sjeler (Dark Souls) was the passion project of two French guys, César Ducasse and Mathieu Peteul, with the intention of creating a Norwegian satirical zombie-comedy. And the result was a stumbling, amateurish, hopeless little trainwreck that looks more like a cheap student film. The acting is goofy, bad and just absurd. Karl Sundby (rest in peace), who was a profiled, seasoned and professional actor in little Norway, is surprisingly giving us the most memorable scene in this movie as a homeless hobo.

 

The directors promoted this as a comedy, as mentioned. And yes, it’s a comedy for sure, and has some entertainment value, but not in the intentional way in the slightest. The weird tone is all over the place, which makes it impossible to separate the “satire” elements from the seriousness. Sloppy camera work, with lazy, uninspired killing scenes that happens mostly off-screen, which makes it look like there was not enough budget to hire a single competent makeup artist on set. In other words: this doesn’t impress much. The zombie growls sound like pigs squealing. I’m sorry, but that’s just pathetic. It took three years to shoot this film, but it feels far more like something done in a short week, all in one, quick take, Ed Wood-style.

 

Mørke Sjeler is distributed in the US by Lions Gate, and in Germany under the titles Dark Souls and Zombie Driller Killer. It also found its way to France and Japan.

 

Mørke Sjeler

 

Director: César Ducasse, Mathieu Peteul
Country & year: Norway | France, 2010
Actors: Johanna Gustavsson, Kristian Holter, Ida Elise Broch, Morten Rudå, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Lise Froyland, David Hernandez, Christopher Angus Campbell, Bård Eirk Nilsson, Trine Dürbeck, Eirik Halvorsen, Kristine Braaten, Marianne Rødje, Jan Hårstad, Henrik Scheele
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt1617145/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread and Circus (2003)

Bread and Circus (2003)Here we have the film that was heavily promoted as “Norway’s first splatter film ever”, which is not really true. But I can at least agree that this is the first Norwegian splatter film that got a wide DVD distribution, which was quite a unique thing in a small, tiny country like Norway. This is almost twenty years ago. Time flies.

 

The film starts with Mother Earth having sex, and a young man in his twenties (Martin Loke) then pops out from a vagina located at the earth’s grassy surface, while the sun shines on a hot, ordinary summer day. A monk-like creature comes along and cuts the umbilical cord as the new-born screams like a schizophrenic mental patient. He then suddenly wears a suit, and has a suitcase handcuffed to his arm as he gets thrown into the society. He follows a pathway and meets a random guy. While they have a beer, he tells our new-born a life lesson-story about how evil society is if you don’t kneel to the authority, and conform to the social norm in a perfect sheep mentality. All forms of outcasts and those who dear to think freely are seen as serious threat to the society, and they get hunted down and killed by the military under orders of The King himself. As the story goes on with a tirade of amateurish, messy, incoherent scenes, including a scene with a guy getting a bottle stuffed in his butthole, you start to wonder what the hell you’re really watching.

 

The acting is unbelievably, ridiculously, bafflingly bad, and is the funniest thing about the movie. And the dialogue was sloppily dubbed in post-production, which doesn’t synchronize at all. It’s reeks of amateur-hour all the way, and the “humour” is on the cringiest middle school level. Director and screenwriter Martin Loke is a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste which reflects in the effects and some of the camera work. But when Bad Taste had  its own style and energy to it, this comes across as the drunken poor man’s version. With a budget of 600,000 Norwegian kroner (approx. $ 68,3348), the film should at least look better. I suspect that most of the budget went to  municipal goods like military stuff and access to certain restricted locations. And almost like there wasn’t any budget for a half-decent soundtrack, the score is primarily filled with classical music from Beethoven, which just feels completely out of place and makes the movie even weirder. The “Actors” are mainly friends and family of Martin Loke, who mostly give the impression of standing in front of the camera as a big favor they would never do again. The political and social statements Martin Loke is trying to make us reflect on is for sure more relevant today than it was twenty years ago. But aside from that, this is nothing but a demented, bizarre and messy oddball of a movie which will guarantee some great laughs for sure. Some of them unintentionally, of course.

 

The most impressive thing about Bread and Circus is that Martin Loke showed it at the Cannes Film Festival of all places, and sold it to seven countries. How he actually managed to do that with a film like this, God knows. But, okay, I give him my respect for that.  The film was later given a 10-year anniversary edition from the Nordic Another World Entertainment with some extras. A U.S. release is also available at Amazon.com.

 

Bread and Circus

 

Director: Martin Loke
Original title: Brød & Sirkus
Country & year: Norway, 2003
Actors: Oliver Boullet, Miriam Johansson, Martin Loke, Magne Jahrestein, Silje Andresen, Benjamin Rørstad, Lars Torp, Lars Erik Ringstad Nordrum, Lise Løke, Hilde Løke, Fredrik Løke, Frank Løke, Eivind Pedersen, Andre Iversen, Vegar Bakke
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0377543/

 

Tom Ghoul