Studio: Magnet
Directed by Mikkel Brænne Sandemose

Aug 13, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Sigurd Svendsen (Pål Sverre Hagen), a Norwegian archaeologist, is convinced that the Oseberg ship—a Viking vessel used as a burial chamber in the Ninth Century—is more than it seems. When he finds a clue that hints at the ship’s secret past, he decides to prove his theory once and for all.  Accompanied by his two kids, research partner, and two others, Sigurd treks into the Norwegian wilderness. It is not long before his scientific study becomes a living nightmare.

Ragnarok joins Lake Placid and Anaconda (as well as a slew of others) in the long ranks of modern creature features where bad guys get eaten and the heroes struggle to survive. Director Mikkel Brænne Sandemose’s film is unique among its genre peers—at least as far as North American audiences are concerned—in that it’s set in Norway and requires subtitles for English audiences. Take those facts away, though, and it’s not much of a standout. The graphics are serviceable, but the plot is fairly predictable and the ending seems far too neat.

Superficially, Ragnarok is fine. The easily-scared might jump once or twice, and it’s far from intolerable. Ragnarok calls to mind the late night B-grade horror flicks ubiquitous at middle school sleepovers. What’s most disappointing, though, is that the premise—based on an actual Viking ship that lay buried for a thousand years until just last century—offers so much more promise than the end result delivers. As with so many intriguing mysteries, the cinematic exploration took the most banal route possible. The Scandinavian Loch Ness Monster treatment just isn’t all that mind-blowing, and unfortunately, anything other than an impossible behemoth with sharp teeth would have been preferable.


Author rating: 4/10

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