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Viking Wolf (2022) Review

Published 6/20/2024

Rating : 7/10 Recommended

Netflix has shown great taste in international horror of late, and Viking Wolf continues this streak. A 2022 Norwegian horror/thriller film directed by Stig Svendsen, written by Espen Aukan and Stig Svendsen Viking Wolf follows a tale where a hound from hell is picked up in early Europe and brought to Norway to reside for over 1,000 years. The opening sequence is cheesy and camp, and honestly not needed but it sets up the why and how for later.

For those not familiar, Norway is a picturesque place. Stig Svendsen leverages the scenery to great affect, painting the surrounding landscapes in vivid, dreamlike colors across different times of the day. Similar to Scott Cooper's Antlers filmed in the British Columbia we are presented with mother nature in all her fantastical beauty marred by humans and their unrelenting wicked ways.

The acting is the film's weak point. None of the cast are able to rise up to the horror unfolding on screen, however, the cinematography, sound design, production sets and creature affects carry the film. The practical effects are noteworthy. We are provided glimpses of carnage, enough to satiate gore fans without overdoing it. If one was splitting hairs you can note how meager the town's emergency response was to the escalating situation but this may be true to fact. Many parts of Norway are dotted with isolated towns with minimal police presence, so it not a stretch of the imagination to see a handful of police and locals with rifles take it upon themselves to right the wrong.

I do wish to take a moment and address the low scores given to Viking Wolf on Rotten Tomatoes. While critiques about the acting is warranted, I take issue with how the audience reacts to how Thale Berg ( played by Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne) is portrayed.

Life in Norway is different from the States; teenagers are given more freedom to spend time outside. Many of the child-related crimes and crimes in general committed in the States are not as prevalent in other countries, Norway included. Towns can afford to run with a small police presence because life is a little more peaceful. It's a difficult notion to accept in other places of the world where crime and violence is as expected as the sun rising in the east. This is why Viking Wolf's setting is so effective. How can a town with a sheriff and a newly arrived deputy content with a werewolf from hell?

Another reason for the bad reviews appears to stem from the notion Viking Wolf doesn't add anything new to the werewolf genre. This is plainly wrong. During the course of the film a request is made to locate someone who is the foremost expert on predators in Norway. Eilert Sundas (played by Øyvind Brandtzæg) provides CSI-level expertise on what's happened and what kind of animal is responsible. There is an awareness that while a large and powerful wolf is responsible it cannot be a werewolf since they are not real. I enjoyed the scientific deductions which lead to the culminating plot twist that (in my opinion) sets Viking Wolf apart from other contemporary iterations. I will agree with a critic this has a Jaws vibe to it, but Jaws was originally praised for its realism in the face of absurdity. The same goes for our Norwegian werewolf.

Viking Wolf serves its purpose as an entertaining yarn with a solid moody setting, well written script, excellent visuals and haunting photography. it earns a 7/10 recommended. Now streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer below!

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