Over the course of a bright Norwegian summer, the seemingly innocuous play between children takes on dangerous dimensions in this disturbing supernatural thriller.
Eskil Vogt (whose screenwriting collaborations with Joachim Trier include this year’s very different THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD) establishes a unique directorial voice with his second feature, the nerve-jangling horror film THE INNOCENTS. Nine-year-old Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum) is frequently tasked with watching out for her older, autistic sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad), but is desperate for a friend to play with. After moving into a housing estate on the edge of a forest, Ida makes fast friends with neighbor Ben (Sam Ashraf) while Anna develops a strong connection with Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim). Away from the supervision of their parents, the children discover that they can harness mysterious powers. What initially seems like fun proves to have grave, real-world consequences, as the children’s games begin to affect the people around them in increasingly unsettling ways. If most films centered on childhood tend to view the period through rose-colored glasses, Vogt opts to highlight the inherent darkness of a time marked by confusion and rupture. The remarkably assured performances of the young actors are all the more eerie for how natural they seem even as the world around them grows increasingly nightmarish.
CAST: Rakel Lenora Fløttum, Alva Brynsmo Ramstad, Sam Ashraf, Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim
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