When one would think that Evil Ed was the only splatter film Sweden had to offer, we came, by a coincidence, across this title called Wither – a homage to The Evil Dead, spiced with its own Swedish folklore called Vittre (Wither) to add some of its own personality to it. It was promoted as the first Swedish zombie movie when it came out in 2012, and the film received a very polarized reception in its home country, everything from praise to pure panning. One of the biggest newspapers in Sweden was obviously so offended by the film that the reviewer spent a full five sentences commenting on the film while the rest was spent on personal attacks against directors Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund. Classy. But someone who clearly liked the movie must be producer Dallas Sonnier, who hired the duo to direct the twelfth Puppet Master movie a few years later. Cheers for that! Now, back to Wither:
A group of young party-ready people go to an abandoned house for a weekend far in the woods to get loose. They have no idea who owned it, except that the previous occupants left the house rotting like a sinking ship with all the belongings inside. At the same time, an elderly man with a rifle is lurking in the area, looking for his missing daughter. Maybe not the best place to spend the weekend. After a quick exploration in the immediate area, two of the kids find another abandoned house where one of them sneaks inside through the window where she comes across a cellar trapdoor. And what do we say then? Don’t go in the basement! Yeah, right. She returns to the gang that is well underway with the party. Traumatized by what she saw downstairs in the basement, she locks herself in the bathroom and suffers panic attacks. It goes from bad to worse when she starts pissing blood, her eyes have become bloodshot, and she collapses. Then she resurrects like a demonic zombie, hungry for human flesh. And there’s full blood-splattering carnage from here on.
One can also draw more comparisons to the 2012 remake of The Evil Dead (which is awesome, by the way) with its gritty, serious tone. There is no over-the-top gallows humor here, and while one may not care much about the characters and who’s what, the acting is pretty decent. Technically, the film looks good with some great effects, good make-up, and probably a usage of several gallons of fake blood that the actors had to slip through. A strong and crisp soundtrack also helps, but the film has its obvious weaknesses. The script halts in which several scenes become too tedious, and the last 30 minutes could honestly have been trimmed down a bit or two. A main protagonist to root for, an Ash if you will, is also missed here. However, I still enjoyed the film as a whole, and it probably helped with some low expectations. But one thing is certain: if you want blood, you got it!
Directors: Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund
Original title: Vittra
Country & year: Sweden, 2012
Actors: Patrik Berg-Almkvisth, Lisa Henni, Patrick Saxe, Johannes Brost, Amanda Renberg, Jessica Blomkvist, Max Wallmo, Anna Henriksson, Ingar Sigvardsdotter, Ralf Beck, Sanna Ekman, Julia Knutson, Jessica Darberg