By Mark Fulton | October 7, 2010

This thriller from Switzerland Sweden channels Polanski at his paranoid interior apartment thriller best. Unfortunately, because “Corridor” derives so much from its sources, it doesn’t transcend into something unique and special on its own terms despite excellent direction and acting.

Frank (Emil Johnsen) is a straight-arrow very serious and driven medical student. He’s the type who bickers endlessly with teachers about why he should be given credit for a question on a test. A very cute girl named Lotte (Ylva Gallon) has moved upstairs. She’s flirty and asks favors such as borrowing detergent. Frank hears her and her abusive boyfriend (Peter Stormare) having sex through the ceiling at night. This interferes with Frank’s sleep and he’s on his way down his dark path. Soon the boyfriend blames Frank for Lotte’s fear of him. Like the shark in Jaws, Stormare’s villain is only shown in bits and pieces from a distance so he can grow larger in the audience’s mind. Lotte disappears and Frank unravels in panic trying to find out if she’s either just missing or murdered.

Directors Johan Lundborg and Johan Storm wring terrific tension from unsettling sounds muffled through the ceiling. The camera peeks around corners and through cracked doors creating atmospheric paranoia.  Just an open drawer ratchets up the tension at one point. Yet in the midst of terror Lundborg and Storm command an excellent use of tone to get laughs. It is character oriented humor about how unbalanced and over the top Frank can be. His clumsiness is true in high stress situations yet awkward in an off-center way. It’s a cool balancing act the directors maintain well.

Emil Johnsen gives a very modulated performance especially considering that his character is in a constant state of panic for three-fourths of the movie. The film rests on his shoulders, he’s in almost every scene, and he does an admirable job.

Unfortunately, I was ahead of the movie’s plot twists during the last fourth. This is the exact time when I should be on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next. It’s a shame since so many other things are done extremely well. As it stands, this is a promising debut by a couple of talented directors and it contains an excellent performance by Emil Johnsen.

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