The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - REPORTAGE NOVEMBER | The Movie Waffler


Reportage November review
A group of journalists head into the Swedish woods to investigate the disappearance of a child.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Carl Sundström

Starring: Signe Elvin-Nowak, Jonas Lundström, Isabel Camacho, Cristian Asvik

Reportage November poster

Beginning with news reports detailing the disappearance of a young mother (Ulrika) and her infant child Alice, we learn that Ulrika was missing for 11 days before she was found dead. Alice is still missing.

Directly after the title-screen, we are introduced to Linn (Signe Elvin-Nowak), a journalist who explains that the following film we are about to watch is a documentary she made to try to come to terms with the strange things that she found while researching Alice and her deceased mother.

We talk to Yasmin (Isabel Camacho), who is employed as a camera operator on the project by the enigmatic Ola (Jonas Lundstrom), who is someone they all trust and have worked with in the past.

Yasmin learns that Ola is actually working with a production company called WP, which instantly makes it a far bigger project than she may have wanted to sign on for, but she is committed now.

Reportage November review

Luckily Ola recorded all of their work phone calls, so we are treated to information about Ulrika which is verified by a heavily disguised caretaker who was working when the still alive Ulrika was brought to hospital. She describes the dying young mother as in such a poor state that she was "the closest you can get to the living dead." Ulrika passed away soon after her arrival at the hospital.

Like The Blair Witch Project, we start this journey in a hotel room where the crew (Linn the presenter, Ola and Yasmin on camera and Jocke doing sound) discuss how they are going to achieve the film that they want to make.

The next day they arrive at a remote village in Northern Sweden and are chauffeured around by Therese (Camilla Westman) who also offers to take them wherever they need to go, including to the woods where Ulrika died and her daughter disappeared.

Having said that, she isn’t comfortable with their first destination selection, but after some misgivings, she takes them to the home of Michael (Johannes Yachouh), partner of Ulrika and father of Alice.

Michael explains that he wasn’t allowed to see his deceased loved one, even though she was found alive and that he never saw her body because she was cremated before he had a chance to say goodbye. He claimed this was all swept under the rug by the police and that this is the real story.

After Therese mysteriously makes a quick getaway, Michael takes them to where Ulrika’s body was found, and the crew marvel at the fact that she supposedly lived for two weeks in the wilderness where it’s freezing every night. They wonder how she could’ve possibly survived, and she was found naked, which is just another strange aspect of the case.

They venture into the woods to look for clues and hints, but no one seems particularly sure exactly what they are hoping to find; which turns out to be odd symbols on rocks.

Reportage November review

With night closing in, they take shelter and by campfire Jocke explains that it’s a creepy place because five people have gone missing in the last seven years there - a fact that Ola had hidden from them.

After an eventful night they wake to find one of their party missing.
And when they head off in search of him with only the bare minimum of supplies, frantic and afraid, you know none of this is going to end well.

This Swedish found footage/mockumentary is only the second feature by director Carl Sundstrom and at least from a technical perspective, it’s quite the achievement. It looks and feels professional, shot with self-assurance, and though more found footage than mockumentary, its shaky-cam style is just enough to immerse you without making you sick.

This is very much in the spirit of the aforementioned The Blair Witch Project, except that in this case our filmmakers have phones and a map, although it doesn’t really do them many favours, and this is lacking the sting in the tail that genre-defining film had.

Reportage November review

As for the screenplay by Sundstorm and Nathaniel P Erlandsson, the movie shoots itself in the foot with the framing device of interviewing Lynn and Yasmin from the beginning, so you know that they are okay and survive what happens; the tension is lessened by this knowledge.

Unfortunately I found this film to be ultimately unsatisfying and it afforded me only one small scare.

It’s a shame this isn’t great, because it’s well acted with characters that you like, a good setting, reasonable ideas behind it, and confidently filmed; but there’s something missing and it just misses the mark for me.

Reportage November is on VOD now.

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