Film review: Thelma

In this supernatural horror film, Thelma, Joachim Triers and Eskil Vogt make their comeback in an exquisite fashion. The true magic of the film comes in the fusion of crisp Scandinavian art-house aesthetic with its supernatural thriller plot.

This Norwegian coming-of-age film tells the story of young university student Thelma, played by Elli Harboe. The film follows her as she navigates the student experience, coming to terms with her sexuality, and uncovering childhood traumas, all while investigating a new wave of seizures that are more than they seem. All the while being raised by religious fundamentalist parents who seem to be desperately seeking both protection and forgiveness from their saviour.

Thelma presents classic horror tropes (revenge of the repressed, liberation of feminine, and fear of the unknown) that have you believing you’ll be served with a predictable plot. This is however not the case and with an almost Hitchcockian style in direction, and Triers play with sound that is clearly inspired by Kubrick, this horror builds suspense in a way that many horror films of this time struggle to do.

While this evocative film could have ended 20 minutes earlier, it sets a high bar for upcoming horror films this year. Whether you’re a art-house horror fan or not, Thelma will have you thinking long after you leave the cinema.

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