reviewed by Andrew James
It starts off right away during WW I. Action starts the day in the middle of a cold, blustery, snow-swept, battle field with blood soaked snow everywhere. Bullets are whizzing by and explosions can be heard all around. It reminded me a lot of HBO's hit mini-series, "Band of Brothers." Immediately the film has everyone hooked. A few soldiers retreat to the woods where they come upon an abandoned house where they must take shelter or freeze to death. What lurks inside the house is less inviting than the cold though.
We then flash forard to present day Sweden where a girl and her mother are new-comers to this northern town where the sun doesn't rise for months (perfect if you're a hungry vampire). The girl gets invited to a party with new friends, the mother works in a hospital with a respected pathologist. It is obvious that the pathologist is up to something fishy, but we have to wait to find out what that is. Meanwhile, the girl and some other characters are finding a fishiness of their own. The stories tie together and becomes a vampire blood fest.
The make-up department excelled with some "realistic" looking vampires and victims that have been half eaten. Some of the CGI effects used to create the illusion that these vamps walk on walls and ceilings is fantastic. Nothing looked "fakey" for a second. Some of these vampires look just like people, but with fangs and some glowing eyes. But others are full-blown monsters (ala From Dusk til Dawn) that the art department and CGI programmers did wonders with.
The acting was halfway decent, but some of the lines are fairly cheesy and not all that funny; but supposed to be. Some of the dialogue does work very well. It's a horror film though and if you just go with it, it's not that bad. This is not a campy "B" movie. It's a well done, true vampire movie which happens to be in Swedish with a bit of a lower budget and actors you probably wouldn't recognize.
What I thought was cool, was the slow process of becoming a vampire. It took literally hours for one guy to change. In the meantime, he's supposed to be meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time for dinner. He is in for a big shock when he finds the father is a priest and crosses adorn the walls. Not to mention the mother prepares a delicious meal with a garlic baste. Priceless stuff!
As he begins to change, he is able to understand animals (you can never go wrong with talking animals - that's been proven time and time again) and their thoughts. He begins to have super vision and hearing which the audience gets to feel and understand extremely well with unique camera ideas and sound effects. When the vampire "zooms in" on something far away, the camera screams forward as what sounds like the whirrr of a computer booting up can be heard. Then the sound winds down as he returns to normal vision. Cool, and worth mentioning.
My problem with the movie lies in a few places. One, the whole premise is supposed to take place in Sweden where the sun doesn't rise for months. An interesting idea and something I was excited to see be explored, but in this film, everythig takes place within a single night, so the fact that it is above the arctic circle is irrelevant and was not explored at all. Second, there were some continuity issues and loose ends not tied up. What happened to this person, or these people. We never find out; it just ends. And lastly, people can become vampires without being bitten. I won't say how, but it is a little bit "off" in reference to most Vampire lore I know. Still, I went with it.
So like I said, I cut vampire films a lot of slack and usually enjoy them all; even the bad ones. This is not a bad one though, by any means. It's very enjoyable and I had a good time with it. I think most of the audience members did too. If you're a fan of the vamp genre (John Carpenter's Vampires, From Dusk Til Dawn), I think you're going to have a good time with this one. It ain't the best I've seen, but certainly not anywhere near the bottom of the list either.
IMDb.com - full cast and crew