Presumably in her 20s, their find, Thale (Silje Reinåmo), is actually a “huldra.” In Scandinavian folklore, that’s a seductive forest creature. Her pointy tail is the dead giveaway, but the guys learn more about her from tape recordings that sound like something out of The Evil Dead.
From writer/director Aleksander Nordaas, the Norwegian Thale certainly isn’t your run-of-the-mill horror-fantasy, yet feels ordinary anyway because the story gives our trio of main characters nearly nowhere to go, both literally and figuratively. Budgetary concerns, I’m sure, keeps them confined to a single setting for most of the brief film, but the audience risks becoming as bored as they. Thale hides under a bed and hums; Elvis and Leo sit around and vomit. (Seriously, Thale contains an inordinate amount of throw-up.)
With about 25 minutes to spare, Nordaas grants viewers a flashback to better explain things, albeit with ponderous narration. Speaking of, do not watch the DVD’s English dub; it’s one of the worst I’ve heard in years, made all the more annoying by how loud and obnoxious the chewing sound effects are. They’re unbearable. When one character gnaws on a wad of gum, it sounds like Maggie Simpson sucking on her pacifier.
Thale looks good — and not just because Reinåmo is so striking — but offers few points of pleasure. For a far better entry in the sub-sub-subgenre of “what’s with the weird, hot woman-mutant I’m oddly attracted to,” see Splice. —Rod Lott
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• The Evil Dead: Ultimate Edition DVD review
• Splice film review