Eli's Favs: Rökkur/Rift (2017)

I loved this Icelandic horror/thriller movie featuring a gay ex-couple, Gunnar and Einar. There are so many things to say about it, it's hard to know where to start.

Let's start with the LGBTQ angle. I loved that this is a horror/thriller movie and the main characters' sexuality is secondary. I've seen reviewers say the couple could have been m/f and it would have been the same movie. I don't think that's quite true because the couple's relationship dynamics and a lot of the symbolism was deeply interwoven with queerness. However, it's still awesome to see a film with gay main characters where the story isn't about them being gay but about something else. The movie also explores their relationship dynamics and past trauma as gay men, so it's got a very strong romance subplot.


Secondly, the story is set in a remote area of Iceland that was just stunning. The cinematography is truly exceptional. I like stories that take place in remote areas where the scenery is natural, huge, even bleak. The vast isolation is a tangible quality in this film. It adds so much texture and tension to the tension and fear in the film as well as simply making for beautiful viewing.


Finally, the thriller/horror storyline was intense! Gunnar has broken up with Einar and worries Einar is suicidal. When he gets a mysterious phone call from Einar in the middle of the night, he drives out to this remote cabin to check on him. Once there, the two face the end of their relationship as well as mysterious knocks in the middle of the night, sightings of mysterious figures, and an ominous car. It's the sort of horror that's subtle and psychological rather than violent, and in the end you're left with a lot of questions. There's a definite metaphysical element to it, similar to Lost or The Sixth Sense in that there are some twists that change the way you see the story. Just don't expect everything to be tied up with a neat bow, because the ending is deliberately ambiguous. It kept me mesmerized throughout and I watched to rewatch immediately to pick up more clues.

I highly recommend this movie if you like thrillers or horror. It's on Amazon Prime right now! You can see it here.