Thale DVD Review
Written and directed by Aleksander Nordaas
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 76 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 25th March 2013
Silje Reinåmo as Thale
Erlend Nervold as Elvis
Jon Sigve Skard as Leo
Morten Andresen as Hvittkledd
Roland Astrand as (Voice)
Sunniva Lien as Thale
It's a depressing commentary on the state of modern horror that I found myself congratulating the protagonists of Thale for not trying to rape, torture or otherwise abuse the pretty young girl they find in the basement of a rundown woodland cottage. Nor do they ever find themselves arguing about whether they should rape, torture or otherwise abuse her either. If only the characters in Deadgirl had been portrayed as such, I might not have hated Deadgirl so much.
Despite its marketing, Thale is not really a horror film. It has moments of gore, violence and even a few monsters (in the loosest sense of the word), but it's more a quiet fantasy film, like something by Guillermo del Toro, or story by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It's a sweet tale, about a girl with a tail, and the men who find her in a basement. It's a slow movie, with little to interest gorehounds or splatter fanatics. Leo and Elvis are crime scene cleaners, working in an old man's house in the Norwegian woodlands. While cleaning up the mess there (and there's a lot of it) they find Thale, lying in a bathtub full of goo and with a hose down her throat. After cleaning her up, Leo and Elvis discover her to be mute, and possibly not quite human. As Thale flees into the woods, a second team arrives, capturing the cleaners and demanding they return Thale to them.
Based on Norwegian folklore, it's a spiritual successor to the likes of Troll Hunter and Let the Right One In, and I'm not just saying that because all three films have subtitles and are a lot sweeter than your average dark fantasy or horror film. Visually it looks a little like Splice, although the story is less dark and more whimsical than that. At a mere 70 minutes it doesn't outstay its welcome either, despite a slow pace and lack of any real action. When Thale's relatives do show up (with their adorable fluffy legs and little cow tails) they look a bit pants (the dodgy CGI doesn't help their cause) but their appearances are fleeting enough that it doesn't really matter. Thale herself is also rather lovely, if you happen to have a fetish for that sort of thing.
With its constantly vomiting leading man called Elvis (I'm a sucker for any character with that name, and honestly consider throwing up in the face of gore/horror to be great character development) and beautiful lead actress wearing a tail, Thale is a wonderfully eccentric little film. It could use a little more artistic flair and maybe some extra story, but it has a heart that's hard to deny.
Video and Audio:
It looks and sounds rather beautiful, befitting the fairytale vibe the filmmakers were going for.
There are no special features on this disc.