The Innocents (2022)

  • Drama, Horror, Thriller
  • 1h 58m

On the surface, there are shades of Stephen King in this decidedly arthouse supernatural thriller from film-maker Eskil Vogt (a frequent collaborator of Joachim Trier, he co-wrote the similarly-themed Thelma from 2017, as well as last year’s awards favourite The Worst Person in the World), but there is also something disturbingly naturalistic about this film’s approach to horror.

Set over the course of a warm, bright Nordic summer, The Innocents follows a group of children who spend their summer hanging around the residential complex where they live. The film takes its time sketching the mundane realities of its young characters, accentuating the details of day-to-day life, so that when things do take a turn towards the supernatural, it is just as heart-stopping for the audience as it is for our onscreen characters. If that all sounds a bit ET , don’t be fooled, this is a film with real bite and a thoroughly un-romantic view of childhood; our young protagonists display just as much capacity for violence and harm as they do for friendship.

While the title deliberately evokes Jack Clayton’s superlative 1961 gothic ghost story (itself based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw), this is a fresh, sun-soaked spin on familiar ‘creepy children’ tropes and imagery. Vogt proves skilled at capturing something of both the boredom and the intensity of childhood as fierce rivalries and alliances form and dissolve, and repressed violence always feels at risk of spilling over.

Director

Eskil Vogt

Language

Norwegian

Countries

Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden, UK

Studios

BUFO, Signature

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