Isaac (Ludovic Hughes) and his heavily-pregnant wife Emma (Sophie Stevens) have taken a trip to a remote Norwegian island to look at his old home, which he has inherited following the death of his mother. The initially hostile locals turn on the charm once Isaac reveals his heritage, but Emma feels like an outsider and is worried that they might be indoctrinating him into their strange ritualistic ways. The local police chief, Renate (Barbara Crampton), doesn’t put her mind at ease when she reveals the truth about Isaac’s parents and she begins suffering a series of bizarre, terrifying nightmares.
Directors Andy Collier and Toor Mian – who helmed the brilliant Charismata a few years back – really ramp up the apprehension and intrigue with their Nordic tale, while also filling the screen with some stunningly beautiful vistas. While there are a plethora of ‘oh it’s a dream’ jump scares, they do continue to work thanks to the way the story never really allows us to feel comfortable. In the opening credits, we’re told this is based on a story by Paul Kane and ‘influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft’ and although there is a brooding element of the otherworldliness of Howard Phillips work and a little bit of tentacle action, it’s certainly not derivative.
Having horror royalty Barbara Crampton on board will certainly raise the profile of the film with some and she’s great here – even with a slightly dodgy Norwegian accent. Sophie Stevens is the standout here, though. The anxieties of a pregnant woman ooze from the screen as the story twists and turns. Ultimately, it’s an intriguing take on Nordic folk horror with some genuinely sinister moments.