Director: Eskil Vogt
Like everyone normal, I have a mentally curated list of ‘outstanding performances by unknown kids in foreign language films’. Au Revoir Les Enfants, My Life As A Dog, Pelle The Conqueror, Cinema Paradiso, etc. I’d have to add The Innocents to that list. Especially one Alva Brynsmo Ramstad as a profoundly autistic girl and Rakel Lenora Fløttum as her sister. Utterly convincing and captivating performances from both of them.
I came across the film because it was placed number one in Rotten Tomatoes list of “best horror films of 2022”. I’m not sure I’d consider it a horror film. It has none of the genre’s cliches; no jump scares or blood and gore or poorly lit scenes (it’s mostly set outside in the comfortingly bright daylight). What it does have is a great build-up of tension.
In Kevin Maher’s review in The Times he wrote: “Finally, a film for grown-up audiences who are sick of watching superhero movies and feel that cinema has been ruined by superhero movies but, all the same, quite fancy watching one last superhero movie as long as it’s a superhero movie for grown-ups.” Calling it “a superhero movie” is way more wildly misleading than labelling it a horror movie. It’s about as far from the recognized superhero genre as you can get, even though the story is centred around four children with ‘special powers’. It has more of John Wyndham vibe about it, with echoes of both The Midwich Cuckoos and The Chrysalids. When I started watching it I was tired and had wanted to go to bed (it was, after all, well past nine o’clock) but couldn’t stop watching. If it’s horror then I agree with Rotten Tomatoes – the best I’ve seen this year and for many years.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
John Wyndham, Midsommar