Elvis (Nervold) and Leo (Skard) are old buddies who haven’t seen much of each other lately. Hard up for cash, Elvis decides working for Leo in his crime scene cleaning business would be a good way to rekindle their friendship, and make a few krone, even if Leo has a bit of a weak stomach. Business seems to be booming in a common looking, wooded Norwegian town, and the two are busy cleaning up the dead, but one house has something much more intriguing in store for them. In a dark, dank basement Leo discovers a mysterious girl named Thale (Reinåmo) that is much more than she appears.
“Thale” is a very good little horror tale (tail?) that impressed me with it’s nicely shot and economical filmmaking much more than the story, although that’s pretty cool too. Director Nordaas has assembled a solid cast and uses nicely lit and well constructed close-ups to make the most out of very few locations, and it was really quite inspiring and intriguing to watch.
The film is an almost silent, slow burn until it takes a turn into back-to-back exposition laden speeches that, while totally necessary, enter the quiet little film like a thunder storm on a lazy summer day. I really don’t see how the filmmakers could have better clarified or explained the two divergent storylines that had been growing at a subtle pace throughout the film but the sudden explanations kind of took me out of the film a bit.
Still, “Thale” is an interesting film. It has a classic Norwegian feel to it that reminded me of a less frozen “Insomnia” (1997) or the more recent (and more related) “Troll Hunter.” There’s just a soft, hazy, dreamy feel that many Norwegian films have and I like it. The film is also interesting because it takes a modern spin on an old Norwegian fairy tale.
Obviously, I’m no scholar on Norwegian fairy tales but where “Thale” goes interested me and lead me to spend a little too much time looking into these old country myths on the internet. If you’re a fan of horror, chances are you’ll like “Thale.” It’s creepy and mysterious and has some good payoffs. However it is a bit slow for the bloody slash and burn horror fans but, if you stick with it, there’s a good payoff in the end.