Netflix in 2017 released another horror film directed by David Bruckner based on the book by Adam Neville. The film tells about a camping trip of four friends, in which everything did not go according to plan.
Events begin in an ordinary bar in the company of five friends. All of them are in their early thirties and have a tradition of going on a trip together without their wives and children. So this evening the question was decided where it is better to go. Not having decided on the place of the future trip, they went home. But two of them – Luke and Rob came in for a drink. In the store Rob is attacked by robbers and killed. All this happens in front of Luke, who at this time, due to his cowardice, hides behind a grocery shelf.
Six months have passed. Four comrades already familiar to us decide to honor the memory of a dead friend and go hiking in the National Park in northern Sweden. Who would have thought that this trip would turn out like this? At the very beginning of the journey they were overtaken by failure. Dom, played by English actor Sam Troughton, falls and injures his knee. This was the reason that they changed their usual route and decided to go through the forest.
As soon as the group begins their journey, they encounter very strange phenomena: the body of a disemboweled elk and mysterious runes carved into the trees. Further along the way, they see a strange abandoned house with a thatched replica of a headless man with horns instead of arms. Since they had no way out, they decided to spend the night there. They all have nightmares. Friends understand that something is wrong in the forest and are put forward in search of a way out.
Wandering through the woods, the protagonist Luke, played by Rafe Spall, finds the footprints of a mysterious beast that he believes is stalking them. But friends reassure themselves that in a few hours rescuers will start looking for them.
The next night, Hutch, played by Robert James-Collier, is kidnapped by this mysterious creature right from the tent. His friends do not hesitate to start the chase, but lose sight of them. In addition, they lose tents, supplies and continue on their way without them. But this is not the worst thing that could happen … The comrades manage to find Hutch, or rather, all that is left of him. His body was gutted and strung on tree branches.
Luke decides to go looking for one. He finds the village and hurries to tell the others about it. Unfortunately it’s too late. Phil, played by Arsher Ali, is brutally murdered, as is Hutch. Luke and Dom, looking for a place to hide, find another house. But the men are being attacked.
They wake up tied up in a basement. The locals tie Dom to a tree and the creature that has been chasing the group the whole time kills him. From one of the residents of the settlement, Luke learns what is really going on here. It turns out that the creature that killed his friends is a local deity. People bring sacrifices to it because they believe that it will give them immortality. Luke is offered a choice: bow before the forest god or be hanged. But he decides to run away, burning the hut before that. In the forest, he has to fight and injure the creature while escaping from Kungsleden. And the forest god lets him go, because he cannot leave the boundaries of his forest.
The meaning of the film
Each of us on our life path at some point faces a choice: follow our fears or overcome them and thereby achieve our goal. We see this in the example of the hero of the film – Luke. The first time – there in the store, hiding behind a grocery shelf, he failed to overcome internal fears and stand up for a friend. But all the way in the enchanted forest he was haunted by nightmares and he realized that he could not hide from them – they must be defeated or they would enslave you yourself. And at the end of the film we see another Luke – strong, brave and courageous. He did not bow before the monster, but defeated him. Thus setting an example for all of us.
Characteristics of heroes
Dom, Hutch, Phil and Rob are ordinary guys who have already started families, but are not averse to sometimes spending an evening at the bar with their old friendly company without wives and children. These heroes of the film are unremarkable, at least the script of the film does not distinguish them in any way. The main plot of the film revolves around the inner experiences of the fifth friend – Luke. In such a short period, he has to grow from a coward who left a friend in trouble to a person who has completely overcome his inner fears and doubts.
As for the monster, this is the god of the local settlers, who can feel human fears and use them to his advantage.
After watching this movie, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, there are weak points and excessive simplification, compared with the original source. On the other hand, according to director David Bruckner, the film has a good ending. After all, one of the comrades manages to go through a difficult path from cowardice to masculinity, which, unfortunately, he could not show at the beginning of the film.