I love folklore and mythology, they have always been a passion of mine. So when there is a different spin on a fairy tale or a myth from another country I’m not familiar with, I get all excited and want to watch it. Thale is something I just happened to stumble upon by accident, the image alone making me curious. I’m happy to say that what I found in this short film was well worth watching. I’ll begin with a summary below and delve deeper into this film. It is based subtitled by the way, since this is a Norwegian Folklore.
Quick Summary: This film starts off with two men who are part of a crime scene clean up crew. It is a messy business that someone has got to do, though only one really seems to have the stomach for it. Elvis is a fill in for the day to accompany Leo, who seems unfazed by the blood and body chunks that they have to clean. This job requires them to try and find the other half of a missing body of an elderly man, as well as clean out the shed to try and find any other missing pieces. While poking around, Elvis happens upon a hidden door much to his surprise. Leo tells him to leave it alone until their superiors show up, but Elvis has too much curiosity and ignore Leo’s requests. Upon entering, the two discover something most unusual and their lives are suddenly put on the line.
Leo and Elvis are two very different people. Leo is rather unassuming, easy going, nothing really seems to get too much of a rise out of him no matter how strange it seems. Elvis on the other hands is a little more nervous, cautious, and curious. The two different personalities play off each other really well, I actually love how Leo just shrugs his shoulders slowly chewing his gum when Elvis is freaking out (understandably so). Thale, the mysterious woman, speaks with her facial expressions and body language. The actress pulls this off very well with the emotions that emit from her eyes, the way she positions herself when feeling fear, curiosity, and empathy. For a bit of the film she is nude, but it is very tasteful in the portrayal. The nudity makes sense with her character, it is a part of who she is, and for this I am grateful. I can’t stand nudity when it seems unnecessary or just for “shock” factors.
The film is actually rather short (a little over an hour) but they pack a lot into it. The lore they use is a little different then what you normally read which is fun, (no I am not telling you the exact lore, it would take away from the film!). There aren’t many locations in the film, the majority of it taking place in the shed, but there is so much in there with significance that there isn’t any lacking of scene changes. Each room has a story, and with each place or important item you learn more about Thale and the two male protagonists as well. It all slowly unfolds, each new reveal keeping you around to find out more. I do wish they talked or showed more about the history of the folklore it is based off of, but I think in my own opinion the director wanted it to be more about Thale then what the lore behind the movie was. So on that note, it was a little disappointing.
This is portrayed as a horror type film, but I take it more as a drama with a touch of thriller. The surprises didn’t really frighten, and I know they didn’t have a huge budget so the CGI was limited (though not too bad with what they had to work with). I didn’t feel too much tension building or jumping out of my seat, but it did keep my interest peaked. The emotions of Thale and her tale really are what kept me going, I just couldn’t help but sympathize with her as the movie progresses. The main antagonist you get to hear about through a series of narration and tape recordings, which makes him all the creepier because he is intangible. The other antagonists in the movie seemed just a little cheesy, but it does have a bit of fun action in it. Also what they are trying to do makes sense and the lines delivered are minimal in a good sense.
Overall I give this a 3.5/4 for a movie. Interesting, a fun twist on a folktale, and characters you want to care about.