When a peculiar hotel dinner show draws crowds during a postapocalyptic famine, one family discovers they’ll pay much more than the price of admission.

Year: 2020
Certificate: 15
Runtime: 1hr 26m
Director: Jarand Herdal
Starring: Gitte WittThomas GullestadThorbjørn HarrTuva Olivia RemmanTrine WiggenMaria Grazia Di MeoKingsford SiayorJonatan Rodriguez

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For our final horror review leading up to Halloween 2020 we’re heading to a post-apocalyptic Norway. I know what you’re already thinking – post-apocalypse, there’s gonna be zombies or some kind of infected creatures causing havoc in the world – well, you’re wrong. Well, you might be right but that’s not what this film is about. It doesn’t even really discuss the nuclear disaster that levelled various buildings or that there’s an ongoing famine – you just have to guess that yourself (or read the film’s synopsis).

We start the film with Leonora (Gitte Witt), Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) and their daughter Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman) scavenging for food and then they hear what sounds like a carnival. Investigating, they are offered a return to normality by way of a theatre show with a hot meal included. The price of the ticket? Whatever they can afford. Leonora, an aspiring actress before the apocalypse, hands over their last pennies (or whatever currency Norway uses after a nuclear disaster) – Mother and daughter are excited; Father, not so much.

Leonora, Jacob and Alice subsequently get themselves tarted up ready for the meal and the show with Alice putting on a bright red coat which really stands out against the bleak setting. It instantly made me think of the little girl in “Schindler’s List” and made me wonder if she would have a similar fate… When they arrive they are told that the show is not really meant for children but the host, Mathias (Thorbjørn Harr), overrules the door man and allows them all entry. The family sit down and tuck into a hot meal – surrounded by other people all enjoying their food but with an air of scepticism. And then the main event begins…

“Cadaver” doesn’t waste any time in setting up the story and visually the film looks great. And by great I mean it looks appropriately awful – this is a desolate country and it certainly looks the part. The hotel is incredibly grand and has a look of the Overlook Hotel from “The Shining” – a bit run down, way past its glory days but still elegant and a great setting for what is about to come.

After the meal, Mathias comes out to explain how the show will work – everyone will be given a golden mask and told to explore the hotel. Anyone not wearing a mask is a part of the show so they shouldn’t believe everything that they see. After this instructional talk a couple start arguing and shouting about why they’ve come and as the argument reaches its conclusion they both storm off in different directions – without wearing their masks. Ah, they were part of the show! So Mathias directs the ‘audience’ to choose which half of the couple to follow and so begins the show.

An odd thing about this film, even though I enjoyed it, is that there are no real stand-out moments or cast. Don’t get me wrong, the cast do a good job and the film keeps going from start to finish, but it seems to lack that extra bit of… polish?! It’s a good film but I don’t think it’s good enough to stand out on its own – which is a shame, really. There doesn’t seem to be any filler and this is certainly a positive, but at the same time the lack of filler means that the more exciting and thrilling parts all tend to merge together without standing out as much as they could – so it’s swings and roundabouts really.

Anyway, as the story progresses, Alice goes missing but, as she’s wearing a bright red coat, is easily spotted in various locations. As things start to get weirder and people start to go missing both Leonora and Jacob are focussing on finding their daughter that they don’t appear fully conscious of what’s going on around them – until it’s too late. I can’t really describe the story much more without getting into spoiler territory but the reveals and subsequent plot are quite interesting and fit nicely into the overall theme of the film. We learn more about the show at the hotel, more about Mathias and, ultimately, more about the staff that he employs and his actors. It ends up quite different to what I was expecting but, at the same time, was still a little predictable at times. It’s certainly a very polarising film if you decide to look at any reviews online.

Overall I did enjoy “Cadaver” and it made a nice change to watch something a little different. There’s a bit of gore, but it’s not over the top and it’s probably more of a thriller than a horror as such. But it’s a good film – not amazing, but certainly not terrible. It has its plus points, it has a few negatives but I will happily recommend it to anyone who fancies something different from the all-too-common ‘jump-scare’ horror films that seem to be churned out at the moment.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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