Published Sep 18, 2012In expanding on traditional Norwegian mythology about the Huldra, which is basically a tailed-siren in the woods that lures men to their doom with song, Alexsander L. Nordaas's horror/comedy/allegory Thale attempts to modify the misogyny inherent in such a premise with a take on the material that instead vilifies men.
Here, the blonde, naked Huldra (Silje ReinÃ¥mo) is found in a bathtub full of a milky fluid, with a tube shoved deep down her throat (not exactly subtle imagery) by two crime scene cleaners with a knack for comic hyperbole.
Initially perplexed by their discovery, Leo (Jon Sigve Skard) runs off to find help while his childhood buddy, Elvis (Erlend Nervold), new to the job, pokes around the grungy basement, listening to old tape recordings of medical experiments interlaced with screaming.
From here on out, exposition and clumsy character development define the central mystery, with the occasional female castration and image of a mutilated ersatz vagina sewn up reminding us that the theme is all about female subjugation, as exacerbated by the naked woman running about stuffing food into her mouth like a wild animal.
Stylistically, Nordaas adopts a puerile male vision by frequently inserting excess jump cuts and flashy, oblique imagery to heighten an otherwise non-existent urgency. And while the distorted images and unnecessary, rapidly cut close-ups are distracting from the amusing secrets that Elvis and Leo divulge to each other, the implication is that feral women, in touch with nature, need to be given certain freedoms (to run around naked in the woods and occasionally cure mortal illness) in order to balance the cold, scientific nature of men.
While this is all sexist and laughable, it isn't intentionally so. It appears that Nordaas is honestly trying to make a movie that condescendingly outlines the importance of female intuition. It's just amusing that it's with an entirely male eye from an entirely male perspective, focusing on the importance of rudimentary male bonding. (Yesbox)