Monday, December 21, 2009

Movie Review: "Frostbiten" and "Sauna"









I’m an absolute nut for Scandinavian horror movies ever since I discovered my favorite vampire movie of all time, “Let the Right One In.” I watch them and feel immediately at home, as if my soul recalls my ancestors living there. If there is DNA memory, mine is activated by scenes from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Lapland. This time of year, these are two "cold" movies to watch, but "Sauna" is by far one of the best I've ever seen. That says a great deal, too!

This weekend, I curled up in the dark with a “woobie” (my protective blanket, of course!) and watched these two choices:

Frostbiten” is a fantastic Swedish movie about a doctor and her daughter who move to a town up in the northern Lapland region (where my grandma was from) . It’s dark there because of the sun being in the south and it’s snowy and cold. Life is strange in the darkness going to and from work and school in it. But, the darkness also holds other secrets—vampires! I’d put this one on the level of the original “Friday the 13th” for tension, effects, and storyline. It was an enjoyable watch, but not a “must see,” however, I am glad I saw it. It had the feel of an 80s horror movie to me. Still, it did have a few unique moments, like vampires being able to hear what dogs are thinking. This will be in subtitles, but Swedish is a funny language. At times, you swear they’re speaking English. Many tones and syllables transfer well. On a rating of 1-4 autumn leaves, I give this one 2 leaves.

Sauna” was an amazing find! Absolutely bloody brilliantly beautiful! I will buy this one for my collection asap! This Finnish movie takes place in the 1500s when Sweden and Russia were done warring and making boundaries for their countries. A team of soldiers set out to map the new territory and come across a strange village in the middle of a swamp. It appears to have the ability to make people face their sins. This movie was so beautifully filmed—like nothing I’ve ever seen. I wanted to jump right into it. It was the land of my dreams when I fantasize about the perfect place in the world. The characters were rich and interesting, the costuming unbelievably impressive, the tone and plotting brilliantly crafted. I am watching this filmmaker from now on! If I had an unlimited budget and the ability to direct-this would be a movie I would wish to do. Even the bad lead character, Erik, is totally sexy and bad-ass in his crazy costume that I just adore and his weather-worn face and his bloody past. He’s an evil character but he’s just “cool” beyond belief. Really well developed and really well executed. This movie had some of the most unique and amazingly original things I’ve ever seen in a movie (the building in the swamp—sooooo cool!) and I put it right directly beside “Let the Right One In” as my favorite foreign movies of all time. Once you go into that world, it haunts you. I had the most amazing dreams that night! Wow! So, you can see by my previous post of the Techno Viking that this movie really put me in the mood for the great north! On a rating scale of 1-4 autumn leaves, this one gets 4!

As usual, I like to compare movies to other movies so you can figure out if this might be a good match.

Frostbiten: “30 Days of Night,” “Halloween 2,” “Jeepers Creepers”

Sauna: “Pathfinder,” “Let the Right One In,” “Brotherhood of the Wolf,” “The Keep.”

12 comments:

  1. oooh, i'll have to check out the sauna, your description has got me.
    i haven't watched let the right one in because i have the book and i want to read it first.
    thanks for the reviews
    sandra

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  2. Hey Sandra;
    You will definitely not be disappointed with either movie, "Let the Right One In" or "Sauna." Sauna was by far the most visually beautiful I've ever seen which says something for using actual locations instead of effects. The characters are so compelling. Oh, I just adored it. "Let the Right One In" was like nothing I've ever seen. I agree, read the book first. I did it reverse and I wish I had done it the book-to-movie way.

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  3. I saw the major portion of a movie last night.. "100 feet" I think the name was. It's rare than a movie makes me tense up.. but that was a pretty good thriller (ghost) story.

    I scanned you archives but only briefly before my brain blanked and I sat cow eyed wondering what it is I was a thinkin' 'bout.

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  4. @eloh;
    I caught the tail end of that on SyFy, I think. I was intrigued but it was just ending when she was climbing through the window... I like that actress, so I can imagine she did a pretty good job. I just put it in my Netflix instant watch and will watch it after work. Cool! Thanks for giving me the name of that movie!

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  5. Frostbiten is a really fun movie. I'll have to check out the other one.

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  6. What a nice holiday gift. Thank you for the comment on my blog...it brighten my day. I love reading your blog and enjoy your perspective on things. I may not always comment, but I do visit and read. Have and wonderful holiday!

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  7. OMG!!
    I can't wait to check Sauna out!!
    I won't exactly be a millionaire when benefits come in :-) but I will be able to do things once again like order books off Amazon and rent movies that I used to take for granted!!
    Thanks so much for the heads up Autumnforest-I was so caught up in Asian horror back in 2005-07 that I forgot many other nations make great scary and thought-provoking films-if it gets a 4 from you I am definitely gonna watch it !!
    all the best to you and yours!!

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  8. OH-EM-GEE Scandinavian people are BLOODY GORGEOUS!!!! I LOVE them so much. I think I'd like it being in swedish or Finnish.. The only Finnish I know is Hello (Terve or Moi) thank you (Kiitos), You're welcome (Kiitos Paljon) ... and Um.. a Number of Profanities :-p (I'd like to thank my dear finnish friend and the number of bands I listen to for those) The rest is my finnish friend and an Old starbucks customer I had named Jyrki... He was from Finland... and seemed impressed that I could say something in his natic language... haha.

    Wow way off topic. Anyways... They sound fabulous... and I'm anxious to see them now...

    All of my bands definately make me want to go to Scandinavia... would be amazing... I'll make it one day :-p

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  9. Soraya; That's so cool! I have to admit my Norwegian and Swedish grandparents--not so pretty, but the kids and grandkids--beautiful! My dad said I got my height from them. Probably. My mom's Scottish side--short. I adore Scandinavian horror--it just does something for me and the style I like and the plotting and characters and setting. I'm not surprised because when I talk with my Scandinavian side of the family--we totally get each other. It's like coming home. So, when I see their movies, I'm thrilled to totally feel it. I love the music from there too. My fav right now is Sigur-Ros (Icelandic). I very much want to go the family manor in Norway, but a cousin went and said they're no real thrilled to have "American" relatives. That sucks! I'd love to see the stuff in the attic. My father and his family brought some with them when they came to America, but I lost all the glasses in an earthquake in LA in 1987. Bummer! Definitely see those two movies--I think you'll like them both. Oh, and father spoke the "old" Norwegian language. I remember him doing a lot of swearing and such in it, but he wouldn't teach it to us except a few simple phrases. I guess since it's not really the language they use now, I guess it's a good thing I didn't learn it.

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  10. More GHT recommend for my Netflix queue. Groovy. THANKS!

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  11. One of the things I regret with Frostbiten is not setting it in 1984It is a 80s tribute! And I also regret not adding a "based on a true story"

    Daniel Ojanlatva
    Writer - Frostbiten

    Ps. I got to check out Sauna
    Ds.

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  12. D.O. The 80's feel definitely came across. In fact, in my library of movies, I've classified it as an 80s horror category. It was definitely a fresh and inventive idea. I hope you're writing more! I eagerly await all Scandivanian films I can find. My family is half Scottish/half Norwegian/Swedish/Laplander and when we have family get togethers, I immediately understand and relate to the Scandivanians completely and don't get the Scots at all. So, when I discovered Scandivanian horror films, I realized they were made with the look, feel, pacing, and mood I would use. I'm thrilled to find more! Keep me posted if you have something coming up. I'd love to write about it.

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