Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
I think it’s safe to say I am a Norwegian film fan. Or, well, I’m a fan of Norwegian films. I am not Norwegian. And now you know that.
Thale (Netflix) is the latest genre piece from Norway to catch my eye. Adding this one to the likes of TrollHunter, Norwegian Ninja, and Flukt, I get the sense that Norway is poised to be a major contributor to the international genre conversation. Sweden might have gotten all the attention for Let the Right One In, but just you wait. Norway’s time is coming.
Thale is a pretty simple story about some average Joes who happen upon a strange scene that hints at the supernatural. Like TrollHunter, Thale relies heavily on Norwegian mythology. Interestingly, I enjoyed not knowing specifically what kind of creature the beautiful mute woman was. It’s obvious she’s something not entirely human, but beyond that it’s fun to pick up clues and guess.
For Norwegians, I suspect clues that weren’t definitive to me would be like showing an American audience that Thale has no reflection. Granted, vampires aren’t American in origin but we all know the myth well enough to recognize its hallmarks. So it’s interesting that the intended audience for this movie wouldn’t have found much mystery at all in guessing what Thale is.(Non-spoiler alert: She’s what’s known as a Hulder. Just don’t google it and you won’t be spoiled. Unless you’re from Norway. In which case, sorry.)
Added bonus: Two decent human beings! In my experience, anytime two male characters in a genre movie stumble upon a traumatized naked woman, one of them acts altruistic and chivalrous while the other turns out to be a rapey letch. Not so in this one. Both Elvis and Leo are decent, unassuming guys. They don’t make advances when Thale is vulnerable. They don’t try to take her prisoner to sell to tabloids. They just treat her with kindness and try not to get themselves killed. Too bad she eats them anyway.
(Or am I?)