On Bo Mikkelsen’s What We Become (2015)

by Kayann Mitchell

With Bo Mikkelsen‘s feature film debut we take another journey into the Nordic Twilight,Scandinavia’s emerging genre movement. This time instead of werewolves here we parlay with the shambling undead.

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The film opens in the picturesque suburb of Sorgenfri where we meet Gustav (Benjamin Engell) and his family preparing for a neighbourhood picnic. As they ready, a news flash tells of a “flu” that has broken out at a local old folks home. Non plussed by the news the neighbours all gather to drink and BBQ. While there Gustavs’ father Dino (Troels Lyby) and friend Casper (Mikael Birkkjær) encounter an old woman who is worried her husband has taken ill. But when the men arrive to help there is no sign of the man, much to the old lady’s chagrin. As the men attend to the old women. Gustav notices his new neighbour Sonja (Marie Hammer Boda) and instantly takes an interest. But before he can truly act on his newly found lust, armed and masked soldiers strong arm their way into to the town locking all residents in their homes with no explanation. As residents wonder at what’s happening around them the “flu” spreads as does the army’s harried attempt to contain it. Will Sorgenfri and its inhabitants make it through the outbreak or is it far too late?

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What We Become isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, but it starts in such a way as to keep the core of the outbreak hidden from the viewer which upped the tension. Is it really a flu or something far more sinister? Holding the answer to that back till the third act was a smart move. Were it not for that you would have your standard and rather rote tale of the undead. Also adding to the experience was the modern score which added a layer of apprehension to the moment. Sadly it loses steam in the last half going for the gore and piling on the biting and snarling lessening the impact of the clever beginning. However, it’s currently in rotation on Netflix America and totally worth a rainy afternoon viewing.

 

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