Saturday, December 27, 2014

Horror Film Review

Ragnarok (2013):  Creature feature from Norway that seeks to explain Norse mythology's concept of the Apocalypse known as Ragnarok.  It's a complicated myth involving battling gods and the eventual deaths of Odin and Thor.  In one part of the story, the Midgard serpent causes the Vikings all manner of grief.  This is what the movie focuses on.  How did the legend of the Midgard serpent come to be?  Let's find out, shall we?

Single father archaeologist Sigurd (Pal Sverre Hagen) is obsessed with the Ragnarok myth.  When his partner Allan (Nicolai Cleve Broch) discovers a runestone that pinpoints the location of a ancient event that may have originated the myth, Sigurd drags whiny teenage daughter Ragnhild (Maria Annette Tandero Berglyd) and happy-go-lucky pre-teen son Brage (Julian Podolski) to the northernmost portion of the country.  Their destination is a landlocked island known as the Eye of Odin.  Evidence of Soviet occupation is everywhere.  Evidence the Soviets in that area came to a sticky end while "fishing" for something in the massive lake is somehow overlooked.  The creature finally makes its appearance halfway through the film.  Bit of a letdown, if I'm honest.  It's just a snake.  Granted, it's the size of a freight train with a super scary head, but still just a snake.  Anyway, there's much running and screaming and a couple of minor characters get eaten.  In the end, Sigurd "bargains" with the creature by using its hatchling as leverage.  It's silly, really.

The plot holes in this film are as numerous as they are huge.  How did the serpent reproduce if there's just the one?  And if it's been laying eggs for over a thousand years, why isn't the planet ass-deep in giant snakes?  Also, it's a ridiculous notion that the Soviets would simply abandon an operation to capture or kill the creature.  Another ridiculous notion is that an archaeologist would allow his young children on an expedition filled with countless potential hazards.  And on, and on.

The Skinny

Acting:  Hagen is believable and sympathetic.  Sofia Helin as Elisabeth is wasted.
Story:  A good idea that needed a few more rewrites.
Direction:  Seamlessly well executed.
Production Values:  The cinematography is jaw-dropping.  Makes me want to visit.  The technical aspects of the project are highly professional.  No complaints.
Gore/FX:  Unfortunately, the film's rated PG-13 so there's no gore and come to think of it, no blood either.  Bummer.  The CGI used for the creature is well done.  It's still just a big freaking snake, though.
Scares:  There are some tense moments but nothing to make you jump out of your skin.
Ending:  Not what you'd call realistic.  Plot holes.
Verdict:  Should you see Ragnarok?  Meh.  I could have done without it.  If you're interested in Norwegian cinema, go watch Dead Snow.  You can't go wrong with Nazi zombies.

Verdict:  2 out of 5

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