Sunday, 15 January 2012

Babycall [trailer]

Horror films can be categorized by geography for cultural convenience. American horror – which includes Canada – is Hollywood and the independents. J-Horror comprises the significant output from the Far East. Spanish horror includes the eponymous nation, Portugal and Latin America.

What’s left can be lumped together as ‘foreign horror’. There’s an argument for British horror but Hammer’s heyday was in the 70s1. The Italians have their own brand (Giallo) but that is indicative of their country and not the region. The French [Frontier(s) 2007, La Horde 2010, La Meute 2011] have wishful thinking.

This begs the question of Scandinavia. Let the Right One In 2008 is a great horror film but the region suffers the same blight as the UK; a lack of output resulting in irrelevance. Of the 60 plus films Ingmar Bergman2 directed only one of them was horror3 so his zombie can stay in its casket.

Norway’s Trollhunter 2010 toured the international festival circuit last year. It garnered great reviews and a UK theatrical release. The bad news is this low budget POV camcorder-cinema was the highest profile Scandinavian horror movie of 2011.

Babycall 2012 is a first: a Scandinavian horror film headlined by a movie star.
click to read full review
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (pub 2005) by Stieg Larsson is the first novel in the Millennium Series. By 2010 the series had been translated into English and was on sale in the United States4. It is a trilogy of worldwide bestsellers5. Each book has been adapted into (Swedish made) thrillers starring Noomi Rapace.

Hollywood may have shunned Rapace when she wasn’t cast in the American Tattoo remake but it was an astute decision. She was too old to play The Girl in the originals. Nevertheless her performances endeared her to the Millennium fanbase. Hollywood may not have shunned Rapace; she was cast in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 2011 and Prometheus 2012.

She is a movie star.

How long she remains one is open to precedent. Americans do not tolerate foreign accents. So where the English may get away with it the Australians don’t and the South Africans can’t. Rapace must americanise herself the way her Prometheus costar Charlize Theron has.

Once upon a time there was a European actress hot of a foreign hit that was later remade. Anne Parillaud was the star of Nikita 1990 but couldn’t shake her French accent. It took one (horror) film for Hollywood to get bored and deport her. Parillaud now works in French TV.

A movie star can kick-start a genre. Noomi Rapace is the only Swede who fits the job description. She could carry the weight of that nation or the whole of Scandinavia in her resume. It’s yet to be seen if her name alone can carry Babycall to success. If she does pull it off then the horrorfolk can look forward to output from the dark psyche of planet earth.
Babycall is released 30 March in the UK.

Read more Thrill Fiction: Black Swan
1 Hammer Films Wikipedia
2 Ingmar Bergman IMDb
3 Hour of the Wolf 1968 IMDb
4 The Afterlife of Stieg Larsson NYTimes
5 Stieg Larsson Sells a Million Books on Amazon's Kindle PC mag
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