Viking Wolf (Vikingulven) is a nordic supernatural thriller focusing on Thale Berg. After moving to a small town, the 17-year-old witnesses a vicious animal attack that kills her classmate. Thale gets bitten in the process and starts experiencing bizarre changes in herself.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Viking Wolf explains that in 1050, a Viking chieftain named Gudbrand the Grim sailed to Normandy with 20 ships.
While plundering an abbey there, they discovered a secret room and broke into it despite pleas from the monks. Inside, they found a tiny but malicious dog-like creature and decided to bring it back to Norway.
The Vikings didn’t realize that they had unleashed a hound of hell and paid the price. The beast killed everyone on board and made its way into the Nordic woods as the ship ran ashore.
The plot then switches to the present day and introduces Thale, an unpretentious 17-year-old who lives with her Police Chief mother Liv, deaf sister Jenny, and stepfather Arthur.
While out with her new classmates in the woods, she witnesses a brutal animal attack. The unknown beast bites Thale and drags another girl away.
The authorities soon take over the scene, and Liv shows up. Being the Police Chief, she starts investigating the mystery behind the attack and uncovers the ancient werewolf legend. Meanwhile, Thale starts experiencing dangerous changes in herself.
Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne plays Thale in Viking Wolf and delivers an underwhelming performance. Coming from another Netflix title like Royalteen, where she was a standout, this is not her best work.
Her expressions are wooden and she doesn’t do justice in depicting Thale’s various struggles throughout the film. Liv Mjönes as Liv Berg is one of the better acting performances in the film. She plays into her character’s strengths and leads the narrative into interesting territories as the Police Chief.
The rest of the cast doesn’t have much to do in the film and is very forgetful.
Viking Wolf is beautifully shot. The scenic Nordic landscapes are captured with expertise, and the muted colors add a sense of eeriness to the atmosphere.
Associating the werewolf lore with Viking history is a smart move as it allows for a fresh direction to the lycanthrope subject. Furthermore, The actual beast not being a humanoid is also something not seen very often. The approach might be met with polarising views, but is fresh regardless.
The transformation scene is one of the highlights of the film. Thale turning into that fearsome beast is visually stunning and handled with care.
The plot is extraordinarily predictable. Despite certain fresh tones to the werewolf lore, the overused tropes still plague it. Bites transforming individuals, silver being the beast’s only weakness, and more push the narrative into a realm of obviousness.
Many plot beats are introduced but not explored. Thale and Liv’s relationship arc is not satisfying at all. It would have been nice to see some sort of emotional redemption for them after a falling out. We also get no insight into their past except for a few lines.
Furthermore, it is slightly laughable that the Police officer leading an investigation on mythical wolves doesn’t realize that her daughter might be in danger till the very end. Especially after knowing that she was bitten.
Even though the werewolf transformation scene is visually stunning, every subsequent scene with the big CGI wolf is a distraction. The effects are not up to the mark and take you out of the scene.
The film could have done with a longer runtime, consistent pacing and probably should have spent more time with its characters rather than prioritizing the predictable werewolf mystery.
Viking Wolf isn’t a bad film. It does have an interesting premise and a few great moments but sub-par execution and weak writing let it down. You can still watch it once, but it is likely to be forgotten in Netflix’s vast library.
Director: Stig Svendsen
Date Created: 2023-02-04 22:05