(director/writer: Patrik Englund; screenwriters: Thomas Moldestad, based on a novel by Mats Strandberg; cinematographer: Simon Rudholm; editor: Robert Krantz; music: Andreas Tengblad; cast: Katia Winter (Lina), Adam Lundgren (Jonas), Christoffer Nordenrot (Kaj), Maria Sid (Ingela), Eva Melander (Eva), Amed Bozan (Amir), Cecilia Nilsson (Anette), Bahar Pars (Nadja), Claes Hartelius (Torbjorn), Lola Zackow (Jenny), Marie Agerhall (Cleo, the guide), Jimmy Lindstrom (Karl, chef), Martin Lagos (Roger, the caretaker); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ina Sohlberg; Netflix; 2023-Sweden-in Swedish with English subtitles)
“It’s a promising film on corporate culture that doesn’t fulfill its promises.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Swedish filmmaker Patrik Englund (“Flicker”/”Slitage”) directs and is co-writer with Thomas Moldestad (whose book the film is based on) of this dark comedy slasher flick, that successfully mixes common events with macabre ones and through its atmosphere of dread gives it a tingly psychological horror pic look. It’s a derivative film, whose satirical commentary on corporate culture shows how a break-down in civility can lead to grizzly murders. It’s a promising film on corporate culture that doesn’t fulfill its promises, as it goes off the rail trying to cover too much.
A team-building conference for municipal employees meet in a hotel to discuss the finishing details on how they will launch a shopping mall that will take the land for it from a rural farmer without paying him. They also fudge the books and lie about IKEA coming aboard the project. During the conference a hatred spreads among them, as they do not trust each other. What could go wrong goes wrong, more than what they could have thought in their wildest dreams. When they go to their cabins at their company’s country retreat at the village site where construction for the Kolarängen shopping mall will begin tomorrow on top of a farm, they find there’s a mysterious psycho wooden masked killer (dressed up as a giant type of puppet mascot) who is knocking them off one at a time. The killings begin at the 17-minute mark and continue throughout.
The only likeable one of the municipal corporate group, Lina (Katia Winter), is the outsider returning from sick leave over her stress issues and is puzzled over how corrupt and inept her group is, that they forged her signature on a document and that there’s a killer on the grounds. The project manager Jonas (Adam Lundgren) is a double-crosser and the most obnoxious of the group, and his lackey Kaj (Christoffer Nordenrot) is the most crass. Also in the corporate group are one the nicer ones, Nadja (Bahar Pars), the spirited Jenny (Lola Zackow) and the cuddly old couple Torbjörn (Claes Hartelius) and Annette (Cecilia Nilsson).
I placed my chalk bet on Lina being the sole survivor (which is not meant as a spoiler but only to show this Ten Little Indian type of film is not my first rodeo).
The pic does a number on the corporate types who are willing to sell their souls to climb the corporate ladder and who strive to get ahead anyway they can, as the film shows how power can be corrupting and that a massacre can change corporate plans.
The music is odd but fitting for either its slapstick or killing routines. The killings are entertaining, as they are creatively done (my favorite is the one of the vic walking around the grounds with an iron spike in his head).
REVIEWED ON 10/22/2023 GRADE: B-