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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Review: Kadaver

Director: Jarand Herdal

Screenplay: Jarand Herdal

Year: 2020

In its releases for the Halloween season, Netflix has been announcing the Norwegian film “Kadaver”. The interesting promotional material has created high expectations around the film, which promises to be creative, macabre, and different. However, it only partially keeps its promise. 

In a post-apocalyptic future, where nuclear wars have stripped the land of its resources, Leonora and her husband Jacob try to survive and take care of their daughter Alice. After hearing about a theater play in a nearby hotel, Leonora decides to take her family to the show with the idea of getting a break from the horrors they live in and to get the meal that was promised to those who assist, Once the interactive show starts, where they have to follow the characters throughout the luxurious hotel, Leonora can’t help feeling that there is something wrong when people start disappearing.

“Kadaver starts by showing the disaster that remains after the nuclear war, where destruction, hunger, and death is everywhere. The director does an excellent job with the cinematography, where he uses a palette of pale blue and gray tones, highlighting the distress and scarcity with which the protagonists live. Once they get to the hotel, there is a sudden change in the color palette, now dominated by bright red and yellow tones, giving a more hopeful and opulent feeling and creating a barrier between the hotel and its surroundings. 

The barrier between the interior and exterior of the hotel is not only artistic, but it’s also a social commentary about social classes. Outside the hotel, all that can be seen is hunger, death, and hopelessness, while inside the hotel, there is abundance and hope. The not too subtle style in which this commentary is presented is reminiscent of “The Platform”, which was also released this year by Netflix and whose plot also feed on the social commentary about the separation of social circles and the abundance or scarcity of resources in each one, that in both movies is reduced to food and the extremes some people are willing to reach to get it.

While the social commentary and the cinematography enjoy being interesting, this does not extend to other aspects of the movie. The plot offers some creative ideas, but they are executed predictably, and its potential is not made the most. The suspense and intrigue are ever-present throughout the movie, but in some segments, the rhythm drops considerably, and in others, it is too predictable and hurts the suspense.

“Kadaver” offers an innovative idea, but its execution makes it too predictable and with little novelty. Its rich social commentary and cinematography stand out, complementing and enhancing each other. Considering how raw the topic developed here is, and the arguments it wants to put over the table, it feels shy and leaves you wanting more, especially when this same year we got “The Platform”, which used the same topics and made the most of how primitive and nasty it can be.

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