Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Faust 2.0


Faust 2.0
Directed by: Robert Selin/ Nicolas Debot / Johannes Pinter / Allan Gustafsson / Micke Engström
Horror/anthology, 79 min
Sweden, 2014
Distributed by: Njuta Films

Almost every review you read on contemporary Swedish horror film will start by telling you how rare Swedish horror is. How there really isn’t a genre scene over here, how the scene is almost non existing… But that’s wrong! Its really just bullshit written by people who don’t know their head from their ass, because if they actually did bother to yank their head out of their constrained collective bungholes, they would see that Swedish horror has never been more alive than it is today. Yeah, sure, a lot of them are still really low budget, kind of on the cheap side and have a general confusion of keeping the story tight, but mark my word. Someday soon someone will check all the right boxes and Swedish horror will make its mark once again. Sure, it may have been something of a rarity say fixe, six, seven years ago, but now there’s almost an avalanche of horror flicks from Sweden rumbling dangerously down the slope. And that is a great thing, because with the heightened competition, filmmakers who want to get into the genre scene are being forced to up their game and show some balls, storytelling skills and how to use their craftsmanship! We’ve already seen some really great examples of ferocious, delicious and minimalistic masterpieces this past decade and I don’t really see it stopping any time soon. Just fucking bring it!

I’m not going to waste your time with listing horror films that have come out of Sweden since Thomas Alfredsson’s Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right one In) 2008, but instead I’m gonna barge right into Faust 2.0 and give you the low down on this spanking new anthology horror which is set to be released domestically within a near future!

It’s a simple bang on the nail set-up, the Devil is bemoaning the simplicity of men and women of today, and how easy it is to claim their souls… with a simple “terms of acceptance”! You know that endless list of conditions that you never read every time you update or install an application or program for your smartphone or computer and cant be bothered to read but just rapidly and instinctively hit the Yes button.

Faust 2.0 is basic anthology horror done by the book, sharing five stories, strung together by Old Nick himself (voiced by Per Ragnar) and his deceptive plan to destroy the world through our obsession with our smartphones and their applications. Although with that said I would have enjoyed a bigger and more visual wraparound in the vein of Amicus horrors wraparounds instead of the brief, but still effective approach taken here.

As always, anthology horror is a mixed bag, and with mixed bags you find good and bad. I’m not here to spoil anything or even rate the individual pieces. Instead I can appreciate the work put into this piece of genuinely independent cinema. Again, the more people make movies, the more the game intensifies and people have to sharpen up. It's called natural selection, competition is good, and we won't fall into the Bergman trap a second time. (As in, everyone hailed Bergman and forgot all about the other really amazing filmmakers we had like Widerberg, Mattsson, Halldof to name a few....) 

The five stories are Robert Selin’s Bad News about a young journalist in search of the perfect scoop – about the serial killer holding Stockholm in an iron grip of fear – and discovers that she’s closer to that scoop than she ever could have imagined. Johannes Pinter’s Inspirappition about an author with a serious case of writers block about to get more inspiration and insight into an alternative life than he ever could have dreamt about. Nicolas Debot’s See Alice about the dangers of online dating and fucking strangers in your hotel room. Allan Gustafsson’s Moral Call featuring Ghosts, guilt and cooperate dirty work, and the final piece Micke Engström’s Nättrollets Diskreta Charm (basically the Discrete charm of the net troll) telling the story of a heartbroken woman who get’s help to reclaim her life but ends up with much more than she bargained for…

As you see all stories have the anthology trait, last moment sardonic twist, a generally dark comedic tone to them all, and all woven together by the presence of that damned app the unfortunate cast all find on their smartphones. Being smartphones and constant updates, I really dig the collective title of Faust 2.0, as all short entries indeed are using the same premise of Goethe’s Faust, where a soul is sold in favor of gaining something the protagonist desires. And you never sell your soul to the devil and liv to brag about it, so Faust 2.0 is a smart title. Well-done lads, especially since I know what the working title was.

In a nutshell; Faust 2.0 is a rewarding showcase of low-key horror, from a bunch of lads who obviously know what they are doing - and what they can’t do on a limited budget. One could ask where the female indie directors are in all this, because it would have been cool to see a woman’s take on short form anthology horror once the hade the rules of their stories decided – sell your soul, pay the price. Faust 2.0 is a collective piece, where story is up front and the moral of mankind is questioned on more than one occasion.  What do you desire and what price would you pay for it? There’s something for everyone here, you get intrigue, jump scares, ghosts, drills to the head, explosions, vampires, demons, serial killers and a few occasions of nudity if you’re seeking that too.

Oh, and some really fucking great shots of Stockholm looking beautiful at night!.

You can keep up to date with Faust 2.0 and check out some behind the scenes stuff on their facebook page here.
https://www.facebook.com/fausttwopointzero