Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Peter Simmons. Starring Lene Kqiku, Timo Torikka.
Thriller, Finland, 81 mins, 15.

Released in the UK on digital download by Reel 2 Reel Films on 11th September.


An isolated cabin in the woods isn’t an unfamiliar location to set a thriller, but Peter Simmons’ debut feature, a British/Finnish production filmed in the latter country, isn’t any ordinary thriller. It’s a mind-bending and obtuse head-scratcher filled with unnerving imagery and striking visuals that could equally bewitch or irritate its audience, depending on their patience for this type of artsy chiller.


A young woman, Satu (Lene Kqiku), hiking alone in the Finnish wilderness, encounters an older man, Laurie (Timo Torikka), in a field. He says a storm is coming and tells her that if she can’t make it to her cabin, to come to his instead as it’s the only other place in this isolated spot. However, we soon cut to her waking up in his cabin. We don’t see how she got there, with him bringing her breakfast and painkillers and saying that she hit her head in the storm, and he found her passed out. And, by some unfortunate coincidence, he says her bag wasn’t with her, and the phone lines are currently out. It’s not a stretch to imagine there is perhaps something a little dodgy about this guy who lives alone in a cabin filled with tins of food rations and is obsessed with the Vincent Price movie THE LAST MAN ON EARTH. Is he just a lonely good Samaritan or something more sinister? I think you know the answer.


The film is a two-hander and ably held together by its leads, who mostly perform in Finnish with some English language scenes. Torikka never leans into too outwardly a villainous performance and keeps it grounded, and Kqiku sells a believable sense of blank otherness.


The film visually looks fantastic. It’s beautifully shot and makes the most of the evocative natural landscapes and locations.


Unfortunately, one big issue prevented me from embracing this film. Around halfway through, there is a scene that starts playing upcoming dialogue from a later scene (which we don’t know at that point) over unconnected visuals. A similar scene happens again a little later with additional overbearing music. When this first happened, I genuinely thought it was an error with the screener, and I still wasn’t entirely sure or not the second time it happened either. The intention is clearly to create an isolating and bewildering effect on the audience, in David Lynch style, but unfortunately, in this instance, it just took me out of the film completely whilst I was trying to work out if it was a glitch. This made it hard to re-engage with the film afterwards, so the film ultimately lost me by the finale.

Simmons clearly has talent as a director, and this is an impressive debut given the limited resources, but unfortunately, his deliberately disorientating stylistic quirks got in the way of the film fully working for me. However, that’s not to say everyone will feel the same. This film wasn’t for me, but it’s not objectively bad and is mostly well-made. If you prefer your thrillers to be of the more straightforward Stephen King or John Grisham variety, then this is one to avoid, but for those who enjoy obtuse and arty psychological thrillers, it’s worth a look as you may get a lot more out of it than I did.


John Upton.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans