Scandinavian horror movies have seemed to specialize in the mythical world in recent years. Trollhunter, Let the Right One In, and even Rare Exports have hit it big focusing on myths like trolls, vampires and Santa Claus (sorry to our 6 year old readers). Director Aleksander Nordaas looks to be next in line and continue that trend with the Norwegian Thale, this time focusing on the lesser known huldra, beautiful women with cow tails.
Thale follows two friends, Elvis (Erlend Nervold) and Leo (John Sigve Skard), working as a forensic cleanup crew. During one of their jobs, they stumble upon a secret cellar containing a mysterious woman (Silje Reinamo) in a bathtub. Sounds like any guy’s fantasy, but unfortunately for them, that woman seems to be missing a cow tail. What should follow is an exciting creature feature, however, this is where the film falls apart. Thale starts out with an intriguing premise. Finding a beautiful woman in a bathtub is enough to pique my interest, but the latter half of the film is pretty flat. Instead of building the tension for a climactic finale, Thale is more interested in bloating the story with exposition and adding unneeded secondary characters which all leads to a pretty cheesy finish.
Also working against this film are the screenplay and the characters. All of the actors do a good job of portraying their characters with what their given, but all of them are largely underdeveloped and mostly uninteresting. Thale is the big letdown as she should be the most interesting character in the movie. Her backstory gets somewhat interesting, but she does nothing in the present time to make her memorable. Leo also comes off as such a strange and robotic guy that it borders on comedic.
Sadly, Thale fails to be anything more than a great idea for a movie and ends up completely boring. Poor CGI, abrupt, generic bad guys, and poor execution all plague what could have been a great film. I think huldras should be looked upon as solid source material to be redone by other directors, but even at the meager 77 minute runtime Thale clocks in, it isn’t worth your time.
Thale is out on VOD platforms starting today, March 21.