Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Apparently Barrow Alaska isn’t the only place on the planet where there’s thirty days of night, a condition that seems to be most conducive for rampant vampirism. This brings us to this little import horror / comedy from Sweden, ‘Frostbiten’ which was an amusing little blood splattered romp in the snow.

‘Frostbiten’ starts rousingly as a small group of Swedish soldiers, fighting on the side of Nazi Germany, find themselves pinned down by allied forces. Some will suffer ‘death by bullet’, and as is it turns out, they would be the lucky ones. The surviving soldiers take refuge in a small home in the middle of nowhere, though they find it curious that no one is there, despite the fact that lanterns are lit and the house feels recently lived in. That would be because it is recently lived in by a blood sucking vampire (redundant, isn’t it?) who scales walls and takes a couple of healthy chunks out of a couple of the soldiers. In a panic, the remaining soldiers manage to kill this beast and also stumble upon a tiny casket, with something in it struggling to get out, that we can assume also houses one of the vampires. The soldiers bury the box for what I’m assuming is forever which brings us to the present day.

Annika (Petra Nielsen) and her teenaged daughter Saga (Grete Hevenskold) have just relocated to a small town in the Swedish province of Norbotten. Annika is a research doctor and greatly looking forward to working with noted genetic researcher Dr. Gerhard Beckert (Carl-Ake Eriksson). We know something is up in this town when a teenager is snatched off his motorbike and slaughtered, and we know something is definitely up with the very odd Doctor Beckert when he relieves the coroner on duty of this particular case, claiming to come temporarily out of retirement, pulls out wood stake and hammer and plunges into the boys chest, who awakens briefly screaming out, complete with fangs and wrinkly skin, only to perish for good.

Dr. Beckert also cares for one sole patient, a car accident victim in a coma who he secretly feeds these weird red jellybeans to. When slacker med student Sebastian (Jonas Karlstrom) gets a hold of and eats one of these jellybeans, believing them to some kind new drug, weird things start happening to him such as increased senses, increased physical abilities, the ability to talk to dogs, an aversion to religions symbols, incredible sensitivity to garlic and an incredible thirst for blood. His sister Vaga (Emma Aberg) also gets a hold of these fancy jellybeans, which she uses as the drug of choice for a big bash thrown by her high school buddies who all soon go through the same symptoms that Sebastian is experiencing. Vampires all around, shady stuff to the left and the right, and still thirty days of darkness to deal with. It’s not looking good for anybody who hasn’t taken one of those pills.

Directed by Andres Banke, ‘Frostbiten’ wasn’t half bad. Sure the filmmakers may have wanted this to be than just ‘not half bad’ but that’s what they’re going to have to settle with from me today, and ‘not half bad’ could easily be taken to mean that it was half good. The narrative was fairly interesting and it did start out very well with the historical WWII lesson tossed in, and by the time Annika and Saga make it to Lapland and we see the long arm of some kind creature snatch that kid off of his motorbike, it’s looking like we might have something here. Unfortunately ‘Frostbiten’ couldn’t maintain that early pace and settled into a mix of horror and humor that didn’t completely come together. I was never quite sure what the main villain’s plan was either. Not a lot was given to the characterizations either so getting know them was pretty sketchy as well. Banke does keep his film moving at a nice pace and it did have the foresight to create the altogether original ‘death by gnome’ scene, which has to be admired.

SPOILERS: Just curious though, since Beckert, as it turns out is the soldier from WWII, and also the vampire that we can assume is the one who snatched the boy and killed him. This seemed to be the first murder in like a long time, so what did Beckert do before like today when he needed to feed? Plus what did Beckert do when there wasn’t thirty days of night? Just show himself in the evening? What about company picnics and sutff? END SPOLIERS.

‘Frostbiten’ just so happens to be the second film in two weeks that I’ve seen out of Sweden, following the extremely stylish but somewhat vacant ‘Gangster’. This is a film that probably would have been better served choosing to either be an all-out horror flick or silly spoof as it suffered a bit straddling the line, but still not a bad way to waste ninety or so minutes.

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