Category Archives: Swedish Horror Films
Written and Directed by Lars von Trier
I like to think that I’m a smart person. I like to think that, but sometimes what I think and the way I feel are two different things. Take the film “Antichrist”, for instance. I like to think that the film is about the stages of grief that a person or persons goes through after experiencing the sudden death of a loved one. The couple in this film remains nameless and is only referred to in the credits as He and She. Their names are not important. What’s important is their grief and how they come to terms with it. Then again, maybe I’m just blowing smoke out of my ass.
Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” is one of the most visually striking and thematically confusing films I’ve ever watched and I’m not ashamed to admit that I have no idea what this film is about. At first I think that it’s about the stages of grief; but when I get comfortable with that notion the film shifts and I find myself watching a cross between Man vs. Wild, the Salem Witch Trials and a misogynistic rant. Then the film again shifts and becomes the most bizarre murder movie I’ve ever seen. Looking back at what I just wrote I sound like a madman who can’t form a coherent thought or sentence. There’s a lot of smoke coming out of my ass, but there’s no fire.
Instead of trying to figure the film out, maybe I should just give my opinion of it. It’s fucked up. There’s my opinion of it. It’s a fucked up mess of a movie that is both riveting and repulsive and beautiful and pornographic. It is a drama and a horror film and it rolls all of that up into one neat little fucked up masterpiece of a package. The biggest compliment I can give this film is that after it was over all I could think was “What the fuck just happened?”
Eva Green was considered for the leading lady but rejected because her contract was too complex.
The story is divided into four chapters, “Grief”, “Pain (Chaos Reigns)”, “Despair (Gynocide)” and “The Three Beggars”, in addition to a prologue and an epilogue, all displayed over abstract designs by Danish artist Per Kirkeby.
The title was the first thing that was written for the film.
The aria being sung during the Prologue is called Lascia ch’io pianga from Handel’s opera ‘Rodelinda’. The libretto translates from the Italian as: Let me weep my cruel fate, and I sigh for liberty. May sorrow break these chains of my sufferings, for pity’s sake.
- Film: Newswire: Don’t worry, Lars Von Trier’s next movie will feature an abused woman (avclub.com)
- The uses of sacrilege: On Von Trier, Tarkovsky, and “Antichrist” (somecamerunning.typepad.com)
- Cronenberg’s “Crash.” Sex, Connection and Comparisons. (pekkyandthefilms.wordpress.com)
- Charlotte Gainsbourg Signs On to Do More Art Porn for Lars Von Trier (hintmag.com)
- Antichrist – Movie Interpretation (introspheric.com)
- Antichrist Movie review (thebitemagazine.wordpress.com)
- Structures of Depressive Experience in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist and Melancholia (Philosophy Seminar, 1 March 2012) (medicalhumanities.wordpress.com)
- Antichrist. (theslaughteredlamb.wordpress.com)
- New Official Info on Lars von Trier’s “Light and Poetic” and Hardcore ‘Nymphomaniac’ (slashfilm.com)
- Attention Splatterdeathcore Fanzz: von Trier is BACK!! (andrewhammel.typepad.com)
- In Praise of Von Trier-ian Excess, Or: Someday, You Will Ache Like I Ache (tigerbeatdown.com)
Alright, now that I have my rant against the chronically rude off my chest, I want to give you my actual review of The Woman in Black. As I said before, I had my doubts about the film. These doubts were aimed mainly at Daniel Radcliffe and his ability (or not) to step away from Harry Potter once and for all. In order to play the role of Arthur Kipps successfully, there could be no trace whatsoever of a certain young wizard from Hogwarts Academy. It’s not just the success of Radcliffe, but the success of the film that lies on his shoulders and how well he portrays Kipps.
The Woman in Black was a novel written by Susan Hill and published in 1983. It was converted into a play in 1987 and in June 29th, 2011 it celebrated its 9000th performance at London’s West End. The book then became a made-for-television film in 1983 and starred Adrian Rawlins in the role of Arthur Kidd; otherwise known as Kipps in the novel and the 2012 film. It’s all on Wikipedia if you want to take the time to look it up.
The film is about a young lawyer, played by Radcliffe, who lives with his young son and his nanny. He is still grieving over the death of his wife at childbirth and his grief is beginning to affect his life and his work performance. This doesn’t set with his employers and he is given one last chance at redemption before being shown the door. He is sent to handle the affairs of a recently deceased client, Alice Drablow, and of her estate, Eel Marsh. It is there that Kipps finds himself face to face with the woman in black, a vengeful and scorned spirit that preys on the children of the village; manipulating them into taking their own lives in sudden and violent ways. Kipps soon finds himself in a race against time against this dark specter as he attempts to solve the mystery of her scorn.
So, how does Radcliffe fare? To be honest, he does a fine job in the role of Kipps. I detected no trace of Potter anywhere in the film. Radcliffe has matured into a fine young actor; as long as he keeps his head on straight he has a bright future ahead of him.
The Woman in Black is a frightening ghost story that foregoes gore and cheap effects for genuine chills, an engaging story and able acting and directing. The film is released by the recently resurrected Hammer Films and comes closest to the haunting production values featured during the company’s hey-day in the mid 1950′s to the late 1970′s. All told, I believe both Count Dracula and Albus Dumbledore would have both been proud.
- Friday Flicks: Harry Who? Daniel Radcliffe Returns in The Woman in Black (newsfeed.time.com)
- Touched by evil: Susan Hill and Jane Goldman on what inspired The Woman in Black (guardian.co.uk)
- Daniel Radcliffe: I don’t really sleep much (time4sleep.co.uk)
- Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe admits he was drunk on set during filming of series (arts.nationalpost.com)
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Screenplay by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Kare Hedebrant as Oskar
Lina Leandersson as Eli
Per Ragnar as Hakan
Let the Right One In is arguably the best vampire film of the last 20 years. It is definitely the most original vampire film I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. It is both fairy tale and dark fantasy at the same time that it is a romance and a horror film. John Ajvide Lindqvist has taken the most important plot element from his novel and crafted one of the finest screenplays in recent memory. Let the Right One In is a deceptive title. It is a play on the old superstition that in order for a vampire to be able to enter your house they have to be invited. Here, it not only means that, but it also means the choice of who we let into our hearts and into our trust. Oskar is a lonely boy who finds an equally lonely companion in Eli. Oskar has his mother, but we never really see much of her. Eli has Hakan, who is more of a slave/protector to Eli than a true companion. Oskar and Eli complement each other in a way that Eli and Hakan can not do. Oskar teaches Eli what it is like to be a little girl of twelve again. Eli tells him at one point in the film “I haven’t been twelve in a long time.” Eli teaches Oskar to stand up to the bullies who torment him at school. The ending to the film is one of the most chillingly poetic that I have ever witnessed.
It is going to be hard to top a film like this one and I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what the two young stars who portray Oskar and Eli do with their careers after this one. If they never make another film as long as they live, they can rest assured that they made one of the greatest before then.