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Sauna (2008)

  Tags: AJ Annila, Finland, Finnish, period piece, Sauna, underrated

Your rating: None Average: 6 (3 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

saundvd.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
AJ Annila
Runtime: 
85 minutes
Cast: 
Ville Virtanen, Tommi Eronen, Rain Tolk, Sonja Petäjäjärvi, Kati Outinen, Taisto Reimaluoto, Vilhelmiina Virkkunen, Ismo Kallio, Ivo Kubecka, Maija Nurmio


Aside from Dark Floors in 2008, I haven't really seen any other Finnish horror flicks, but if Sauna is any indication as to the quality of film that the country is producing then I'm all for more additions to the genre! I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from the movie, but I came out pleasantly surprised. It's definitely a film that leaves very little in terms of easy answers and requires an attentive viewer. Luckily for me I found the period it took place and premise intriguing from the start.

The film follows a couple brothers who are enlisted in a small group to outline a new border between Russia and Finland, as part of a recent peace agreement between the two countries. Years of war have left the men beaten and psychologically unfit, especially that of the two brothers, whom also leave behind a trail of sin that will soon catch up to them... Amidst their travels the group come across a mysterious village in the middle of a swamp -- a village that has not been documented in any map. Added to their curiosity is a nearby sauna that the locals speak very little of how it came to be in the swamp.

This is a slow-paced, but interesting and very atmospheric film that relies more on its dark mood and foreboding atmosphere. I was surprised to also encounter a few somewhat creepy scenes along the way, especially when the younger brother's guilt over a recent event seems to overcome his thoughts. The mystery surrounding the sauna and its existence, along with the village itself really kept my attention. As I said before, this is a rather ambiguous flick with many subtexts that require a viewer to really pay close attention in hopes of finding answers to some of the questions posed in the film, with the main theme being the cost of redemption.

Being an ambiguous horror film with many layers to it, this will not please everyone. I personally liked the fact that it didn't give the viewer easy answers and forced you to analyze certain scenes in an attempt to understand it. If you're looking for a genre pic that will make you think and give you some nice atmosphere and creepy elements, then give this a check.

Posted on March 1, 2010 - 5:38pm | FrighT MasteR

 

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