Almost released by surprise, this nNew Netflix Werewolf Horror Movie, the first of the subgenre in Norwegian history, has been a bit of a surprise on the platform. ‘Viking Wolf’ (Vikingulven) is the new from director Stig Svendsen, who previously directed the American horror film ‘Elevator’ (2012) and has co-written the script with Espen Aukan, author of the successful ‘Troll’ (2022).
If that one remains at number one in Netflix’s top 10 historical list of movies not spoken in English, the new one seems to want to follow in its footsteps and has achieved 28 million hours watched in just 3 days and number 10 only accumulates 67 million in 28 days , so it is expected that it will enter directly, at least, to the middle part of the table. Besides, It has managed to get into the top 10 most watched movies over the weekend in 89 countries.
‘Viking Wolf’ has achieved first place in France, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Germany, Greece, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Cyprus… and in Spain no less than second place , only surpassed by the local production ‘Infiesto’. not bad for a very modest and standard film within the werewolf subgenre.
An investigation with a mythical supernatural background
The cast includes quite a few popular Scandinavian actors, but very unknown in the rest of the world, except for Liv Mjönes, who appears in ‘Midsommar’, along with Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne, Vidar Magnussen, Kasper Antonsen and Arthur Hakalahti. The movie isn’t about some big monster warrior in a horned helmet.but the lycanthrope is a figure of the Scandinavian mythical tradition, and it is explained to us in a flashback of a thousand years ago.
Vikings looting a village they find a wolf-like creature and take it with them back to Scandinavia, where the curse has lingered ever since. Here we move to the present, where we find a veteran police officer in a small town where a series of murders begins that begins a search for the murderer in the purest Nordic criminal thriller style. We also get into her personal life, and her strained relationship with her teenage daughter, Thale, a 17-year-old.
At first, it seems that we follow the life of the girl in Nybo, where she attends a forest party where a student is dragged into the forest by something she also comes into contact with while trying to help her acquaintance. Soon the plot splits and we follow her mother’s investigation, on the one hand, and Thale’s on the other, which is somewhat reminiscent of the movie ‘Ginger Snaps’ (2000). A kind of double-headed film in which on the one hand we have a Nordic Noir and on the other an archetypal ‘Teen Wolf’ a little murkier than usual.
a satisfying climax
That may be the secret that has hooked so many Netflix users, but the truth is that it is a somewhat predictable version of both worlds. We know exactly what the problem is from the beginning, so the mystery doesn’t work, and Thale’s plot is left in the background until the last third. There is an interesting mother-daughter conflict and obviously a correlation that creates a dilemma. for the police, but many aspects of the mythology it unfolds are wasted and it smacks of a minor TV movie.
There are some decent practical effects, but also some CGI, which works well in some scenes and not so well in others, the photography is pretty decent, and when the time comes, ‘Viking Wolf’ is revealed as a rather bloody work, with a more serious and sinister approach than the usual pieces for the youth market that Netflix brings out we are used to. But the pace tends to drag by offering nothing we haven’t seen before.
The action towards the end of the film, with a quite exciting last 25 minutes, elevates the whole with a situation reminiscent of the climax of ‘An American Werewolf in London’, and a brave and bittersweet ending to the credits that makes one think of the good werewolf movie that was hidden in his update of Stephen King’s ‘The Werewolf Cycle’. Perhaps its good reception responds more to the public’s desire for a good update of a genre that has been orphaned for too many decades of a new classic.