Cadaver (Kadaver): An Apocalyptic Horror Version of Sleep No More – Netflix Review

Norway brings us a horror film about the dangers of live theater.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Leonora (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) are a married couple raising their daughter, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman), in a post-apocalyptic famine-filled world. A theater troupe sends them invitations to a show, with dinner included. This, naturally, seems suspicious to the pair, since food is scarce and any offer to get something for free seems too good to be true. However, they ultimately agree to go. The show is run by a rich man named Mathias (Thorbjørn Harr), who acts as the Master of Ceremonies. The production is akin to “Sleep No More.” It takes place at a hotel and the audience can follow whichever characters they like. However, it soon becomes apparent that something is very off about this play, but every time it seems like they uncover it, Leonora and Jacob just discover it’s another part of the show. So, where exactly does the show end and the real horror begin?

Probably around the time that you have to question if it’s blood or corn syrup.

END SUMMARY

Admittedly, it’s hard to like a horror movie where the premise feels as forced as this one. No one, not even the characters, thinks that the show that promises a free meal isn’t a trap. It’s so clearly a set-up that the troupe barely even tries to hide it. When Leonora asks how much a ticket is, the answer is just “whatever you’ve got.” The only reason anyone goes is because their situation is so desperate that they can’t afford not to take the risk. After all, if you’re murdered in an apocalypse on a full stomach, it probably beats the slow starvation you were dealing with already. They try to smooth it over by having Leonora be relentlessly optimistic, but it still always feels weird to have a film start off with the equivalent of diabetic teenagers say “well, if we go in that haunted house we are definitely going to die, but we might get the insulin we need.” 

The audience has to wear these masks, even.

Once you’re inside, the atmosphere takes over and I will admit that I think the atmosphere of this movie does a lot of heavy lifting. It’s an abandoned hotel and once the show starts, it becomes completely believable that this would be a great setting for an immersive theater experience. If it weren’t the apocalypse and you had paid a few hundred dollars for the tickets, you would assume it’s just a very elaborate performance. The costuming isn’t complicated, nor are the plots, but since it’s the post-apocalypse that’s forgivable. The setting is suitably creepy to make you believe that there are parts of this hotel that you should never see.

Like, this hallway.

The other strength of the movie is that it does, for a while, keep you in suspense. You know something’s up because it would be a very boring movie if it was literally just watching people watch a play. However, while Leonora and Jacob originally seem to “see through the veil” and realize that something awful is happening, it’s revealed that the thing they’re witnessing is just as fake as the rest of the performance, making it uncertain when the other shoe is going to drop. Still, when it does, you don’t get the feeling of satisfaction you should have, because you always knew something was coming and you probably had a solid idea of what. The performances are solid, but most of the film is focused on Gitte interacting with the various groups.

Yeah, they stretch this phrase to its breaking point.

Overall, it’s a pretty neat idea for a film, but it could have been done a little better. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Netflix Mini-Review – Bloodride: A Bloody Scandinavian Horror Anthology

Welcome aboard the bus of blood, where all of the damned souls have a tale to tell.

SUMMARY (spoiler-free)

It’s an anthology of horror. You’ll find tales of rural Viking sacrifices, crazy brothers with a taste for violence, writers telling stories of murder and mayhem, a rich man torturing his “trusted” associates, children shunned by their town for being different, and an office full of costumed workers who let their animal sides out. All of the central figures are seen riding the same bus towards an unknown and no doubt unpleasant destination.

Bloodride' Review: The Norwegian horror anthology uses twisted ...
Including this elephant man.

END SUMMARY

When I heard “Norwegian Horror,” I assumed this show would just be people dealing with privatized medicine and going back to work two weeks after having a baby. Instead, I was surprised that there’s very little in the series that really depends on the culture of the setting. The closest thing was that at one point there is a “Viking” burial site providing the impetus for the story, which in the US would probably be the “Ancient Native American” burial site, but that’s minor. The stories are fairly universal and all decently compelling. 

Bloodride - 1Stabbing
And it’s still exploited by white people.

I’d say that my favorite one is definitely “Lab Rats,” which depicts a businessman who discovers that his new prototype has gone missing during his victory dinner, leading him to forcibly try to torture everyone who might have it (including his wife). It not only perfectly encapsulates the similarities between a successful CEO and a sociopathic villain, but also doesn’t really rely on a twist ending like most horror television episodes. The truth is just slowly revealed logically. It helps that all of the characters are forced to interact under a horrifying circumstance. 

Bloodride - 2Cage
Also, you’re telling me no one in the room was wearing a non-white bra?

The performances and the premises are all pretty solid. Some of them might seem similar to older episodes of other horror films and anthology shows, but they all have something fun to add to the narratives. Also, the dubbing isn’t particularly bad, so if you don’t like reading horror dialogue, you can get by with it. 

Bloodride - 3Writer
There will still be some reading.

Honestly, it’s a pretty solid horror series, a little more serious than Tales from the Crypt, but less technology focused than Black Mirror. Give it a try.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.