This film is as truthful as it is supernatural, as beautiful as it is harrowing: “The Innocents“ shows the naive, amazing world of children as gripping psychological horror. You can already secure the cinema highlight for your home.
Disturbing, enchanting, or both? Enchantingly disturbing or disturbingly enchanting? It doesn’t matter, because of how you twist and turn it: “The Innocents’ is one of the best films of the year. The thriller about eerie occurrences in a skyscraper settlement was celebrated at the Fantasy Filmfest 2021 and was accompanied by euphoric reviews in the cinemas last month – albeit with only a few copies so that many film fans did not even enjoy watching it.
Fortunately, it will take until the home theater launch of “The Innocents” but not for too long – and you can even get the film for your home now, including as a limited edition in the media book. The expected release date is July 29, 2022. Pre-orders are already possible both via the shop of distributor Capelight itself and from retailers such as Amazon. The fact that we give a clear recommendation for one of the few films this year for which we awarded the full five points in the review is probably self-explanatory at this point…
“The Innocents”: Good night playground horror
The young siblings Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum) and Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad) have just moved into a high-rise estate. While Ida’s frustration bounces off her parents, her autistic sister has to act as a human stress ball. The dynamic changes when the sisters make new friends on the playground: the shy yet kind Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim) and the easily frustrated Ben (Sam Ashraf). It is soon revealed that Aisha has telepathic powers, thanks to which she can communicate with Anna. Ben, in turn, develops telekinetic abilities. And from great power in combination with a childlike disposition soon follows great misery…
The reactions to “The Innocents’ show a wide range. Most films that have such mixed reactions can be described as “audience dividers” with a clear conscience since they are discussed as “junk” or “masterpiece”. “The Innocents” is different: There is consensus that the directing work of “Thelma” author Eskil Vogt is excellent – you have to use a magnifying glass to look for dissenting voices in the press. But that is Why? is refreshingly controversial.
My DashFUN colleague Tobias Mayer reported on a person sitting next to me who left the cinema because it was too much for him – and that at the Fantasy Filmfest, whose audience is more of a die-hard kind. My colleague Christoph Petersen also has “The Innocents’ achieved on the psychological thriller wavelength. In his 5-star review he praised the film as “mercilessly evil” and as “a masterpiece that is as radical as it is devastating”.
Reactions that I can fully understand. If, for example, in a scene, a three cheese high in the stairwell checks whether cats always land on all four paws, one can calmly boil the blood. And Vogt’s imagery is sometimes so nerve-wracking icy that it can choke your throat even without an escalation of animal suffering. But would you have me after my “The Innocents” When I was asked how I went to the cinema, my very first reaction would have been: “Really nice!” And I’m by no means alone in this -“The Innocents’ reaches me and a few other fans on the ‘fable radio wave’.
Because in the film there are unsupervised children whose unfinished moral concepts repeatedly degenerate badly, as well as numerous bittersweet or even sweet observations. It is a work about the inexplicable emotional world that runs through childhood. That oddly reassuring feeling that the biggest conflict in the big wide world doesn’t extend beyond the playground. And about the communication between children, carried out simply by gut feeling, which leads to them (initially) liking each other simply because they are in the same place.
“The Innocents“ is harsh childhood nostalgia and enchanting horror at the same time – and you simply have to see it to be able to have a say! The DashFUN podcast Screen Love recently showed how lively, interesting, and thoughtful conversations about the supernatural thriller can be: