Just in time for the holidays comes a truly creepy flick from Sweden about a couple grieving the loss of their young daughter and their crumbling marriage who go on a camping trip and get caught in a Groundhog Day loop of a murderous fairy tale. Every night Elin (Ylva Gallon) wakes Tobias (Leif Edlund Johansson) to say she needs to go outside the tent and pee, and every night a trio of monsters is outside just waiting to prey on her and him. But night after night Tobias awakens with a bit more information and a plan to get away from the horrors inflicted on them the nights before. It’s all allegory of their grief and their broken relationship and as the violent cycle continues they’re ultimately able to find their way back to each other. It’s a very odd film, definitely not for mainstream moviegoers, and frustratingly slow.
The film opens with the happy couple and their daughter at the beach. But at lunch Elin gets a life-threatening case of food poisoning. The next morning in the hospital as they’re preparing to celebrate their daughter’s 8th birthday, they discover that she died in her sleep. Three years later, Elin and Tobias are at odds over everything. But they’re going on a camping trip anyway. Only once they get there, after fighting the whole way, the cycle of horror begins. The monsters that menace each night are: straw hat topped ringleader Mog (Peter Belli), silent giant Sampo (Morad Khatchadorian) and horror flick sullen chick Cherry (Brandy Litmanen) along with their two dogs, one living and one not. Mog takes delight in killing and taunting them every time, urging Sampo to crush them and Cherry to shoot.
At the end it’s clear that this murderous trio is animated from the music box their daughter was going to get for her birthday. Convoluted much? Both leads are good and there is atmosphere galore. And there are a couple of short animated pieces that bring the relationship into focus. But there is almost no character development and you’re left to puzzle out what the hell is going on way too much for me. But I suspect there is an audience for this. Horror movie lovers and people who love movies that you have to dig deep for that hidden meaning. You know who you are. Be forewarned though, it’s very violent.
In Swedish with subtitles.
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