With cinemas still closed in many areas of the UK, and new theatrical releases pretty much non-existent right now, it is down to the streaming services to continue serving up new content. So, when I sat down to watch a new movie this week, I turned my attention to Netflix to see what was on offer.
I found myself with two options. The first was Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – a festive family film starring Forest Whitaker, Hugh Bonneville, and Ricky Martin. The second option was Cadaver – a post-apocalyptic Norwegian horror movie, filmed on a small budget and starring no one that I am remotely familiar with.
Out of the two options, I favoured the Norwegian horror movie over the Christmas flick. That’s not my subtle way of saying I expect Jingle Jangle to be rubbish, it could be the Citizen Kane of Christmas movies for all I know, it’s more my own personal preference that I would rather watch a bleak horror movie over a holiday film with Ricky Martin.
Did I make the correct choice? Well, I still haven’t watched Jingle Jangle, but based on my experience with Cadaver, I believe so.
Written and directed by Jarand Herdal, Cadaver (or Kadaver as it is known in Norway) tells the tale of a young family living in a post-apocalyptic world. Following a nuclear disaster, the land is scorched, food is scarce, and the family have nothing much to do other than contemplate their meagre existence – sounds a bit like the year 2020, doesn’t it?
One day a man arrives outside of the family’s home, selling tickets to a special show which includes dinner and entertainment. Although this is clearly a very odd occurrence in light of the nuclear winter, the opportunity for some escapism proves too tempting – tickets are purchased and the family attend the event.
As the night unfolds, a decadent meal is consumed and the show begins, with a ‘play’ being enacted around the guests. But with each new scene it becomes clear that all is not what it should be, and buying a ticket to this production could prove to be the family’s swansong.
I liked Cadaver. It is a good horror movie with some striking visuals, great atmosphere, and a lot going for it.
The premise was simple, yet intriguing; the running time was short, so it didn’t wear out its welcome; and the production design worked very well within the context of the story. Sure, Cadaver is a low budget picture, and it certainly would have benefitted from a little cash injection, but it had something at its centre which worked very well – a story of survival.
The survival story, which incidentally applied to both the protagonists and the antagonists of this film, kept things ticking along. It provided a good contrast between the horror of living through an apocalypse, and the horror of how humanity acts after an apocalypse, and seemed rather fitting for the times we currently find ourselves in.
Cadaver isn’t the kind of horror movie that will win any awards for originality, but it most certainly has some flair. It works great as a late-night chiller and I found myself pleasantly surprised with what it had to offer.
And now for a word of warning.
When watching Cadaver on Netflix, the movie will automatically play in dubbed English as the default language setting. I highly recommend you do not watch this version of the movie.
My advice is to manually switch the settings to the original Norwegian spoken language, with English subtitles. Trust me, this makes a huge difference to how you perceive the film and I say this after comparing the two settings and finding myself with a very different experience when watching the dubbed edition.