Dir: Aleksander Nordaas
Star: Erlend Nervold, Jon Sigve Skard, Silje Reinåmo

Two crime-scene clean-up guys - I guess someone has to - are working on a remote house where an old man was found dead: there's Elvis (Nervold), who is singularly unsuited for the work, throwing up at the sight of almost anything, and Leo (Sigve Skard), who is completely unflappable. They discover an entrance into the victim's basement, where they find canned food dating back to the 1980's, medical documents and a bath filled with a milky substance from which emerges a woman (Reinåmo), who is unable to speak, but has clearly been through some kind of trauma. There's also a recorder, and cassette tapes that may throw some light on the woman's origins. As Elvis and Leo wait for back-up to arrive, it turns out that her family, who live in the nearby forest, may also have been alerted to the return of their sibling, and are closing in on the house and its increasingly nervous occupants.

Something of a parallel to Trollhunter, the main problem for non-Norwegian audience is a likely unfamiliarity with the woodland race known in Scandinavian folklore as the Huldra. While the basic troll concept is well enough known not to need much explanation, that's not so here. Yet the film ploughs on, assuming we know what the woman is, and what risks the men are taking by interacting with her. Indeed, it would also explain the unusual contents of the mini-fridge in the basement. It is all, quite deliberately, very low-key - perhaps, too much so, especially in a film that goes for barely 70 minutes before the closing credits run. Some moments are certainly effective, such as the audience's first glimpse of a huldra, in the background as Leo goes to their car, which is a great "WTF?" generator. However, there's rather too much of the pair sitting around, listening to tapes while looking concerned. Given this barely scratches the surface of the folkloric depths, a prequel - telling the story of the huldra's discovery, upbringing and what killed her captor - might have been a better idea.

[November 2012]

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