Autopsy of a thriller: why the Snowman will chill and shock you

If The Snowman conjures up images of flying above the treetops, singing a high-pitched Christmas song, then prepare for a cold, hard reality check, because this adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s bestselling crime novel is about to do for Frosty what IT did for clowns. Find out why Tomas Alfredson’s new thriller is unmissable autumn viewing…

Hitting the screens on 13th October, The Snowman is following a tradition of great thrillers pushing all the genre’s elements in a really disturbing - but also exciting - way.

But what define a dark and gloomy thriller? And what makes it even more creepy?   

Role #1

A crazy serial killer with creepy habits

Role #2

An anguishing atmosphere where everyone is in danger

Role #3 

The loner detective with a dark side

Role #4

The unexpected storyline with shocking surprises

Role #5

The perfect leading actors


A Crazed Serial Killer

Yes, yes, we know all serial killers are on the unhinged side, but this one’s particularly nasty – and, if we’re honest, a little weird too. He only comes out when it’s snowing and then leaves a freshly-built snowman as his calling card.

Sometimes – if he’s feeling particularly creative – he leaves the victim’s head in place of the snowman’s. Yuck! But by far the worst bit? He’s been doing it for years and getting away with it… 

“We looking into disappearances, some recent, others dating back several years” explains a voiceover in the trailer. 

Yup, it’s enough to put you off your dinner. Or building snowmen. Or going to Norway. Ever.

 

    The classic crime zone

There is a long list of serial killers in movies, but it's hard to find someone more mentally unstable but dangerously clever as the one in Se7en (1995, directed by David Fincher) . It's not only about the killer himself, but the deeply dark environment and ambiguous morality where the investigation leads.  The Snowman follows this example bringing to extreme consequences the game of cat-and-mouse between the killer and the police, showing how if you look into the face of evil, the evil is gonna look right back at you....


The Horror Behind the Beauty


By which, of course, we mean the location. As alluded to above, the film was shot entirely in Norway – in Rjuken, Oslo and Bergen to be exact – and is full of absolutely breathtaking mountain scenery.

In fact, you really must see The Snowman on the big screen, it’s the only way – some of the scene-setting sequences are dizzying in their magnificence. And what is it about snow that makes blood look even redder? 

   The classic crime zone

It seems like quiet and beautiful countries hide underneath their appearance of perfection some of the darkest mysteries.  This is why astonishing locations become the perfect environment where to set a thriller which changes all our preconceptions.  So, if you liked the fascinating yet anguishing atmosphere of Sweden in 'The Girl with a Dragon Tatoo' (2011) you will be definitely thrill by how the landscapes of Norway in The Snowman can be the perfect cinematic scenario for a  grim, gritty film that flirts with horror movie territory.


A Grizzled Detective To Root For

His name is Harry Hole and he’s everything you’d want in a Nordic detective. Hard-drinking? Check. Chain-smoking? Check. A bit of a maverick? Check.  

Harry is the Olso law enforcer at the centre of Jo Nesbø’s crime series, of which The Snowman is the seventh novel. To date, Nesbø’s books have sold more than 36 million copies and been translated into 50 different languages, so he’s kind of a big deal.

And you know what? So is Harry. He’s been working cases since 1997 and if anyone can hunt down this snowman-obsessed psychopath, it’s him.

  The classic crime zone

Many thrillers stand apart in one way or another, but some are particularly unique in one fashion. An example to look at can be Insomnia (directed by Christopher Nolan, 2001) where its psychological nature and the moral ambiguity of its protagonists boost the quality of the film. The Snowman follows this rule and the deep analysis of its characters and the obsession of detective Harry Hole make you wonder of how far the entire story could go....


A Noir At Its Finest

Director Tomas Alfredson is the Swedish who unsettled the bejesus out of us with vampire movie Let the Right One In and kept us on the edge of our seats in the BAFTA-winning Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The Snowman is dripping with the dark, gloomy, isolated atmosphere that has become the director’s calling card. Sticking closely to the book, the film twists one way then the other. You’ll be gripped, you’ll be grossed out, but most of all, you’ll be left guessing – right the way up until the film’s shocking final act.

 

 

  The classic crime zone

'Enter the mind of a killer...you might never return'.  This was the tagline of Manhunter (1986) the first film that started Hannibal Lecter's legacy. And from that day, thrillers have never been the same.  What we like of these kinds of films is the perfect balance between the investigation story and the numerous psychological games of dominance played by the killers. The Snowman plays its best adding a lot of terrifying details to all of his. In many ways, we are intrigued by the investigation itself, but we are still caught up by the killer's game and his/her disturbing madness.


The Cast Is To Die For

Michael Fassbender was certainly Alfredson’s first choice. As Harry Hole, a dogged detective plagued by demons who sacrifices everything to get his man, Fassbender is perfect.  With his steely intensity, he seems the right actor to play a relentless detective being toyed with by a deranged-but-intelligent killer.

And so is Rebecca Ferguson as new cop on the block Katrine Bratt. She has her own troubled past but is also a super-shrewd cookie. In fact, she’s the one who realises that it’s the falling snow that sets the killer off.

  The classic crime zone

Ok, we know that The X-Files is mostly about aliens and paranormal. But what Mulder and Scully taught us is that nothing works better than a detective duo in a thriller. Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson in The Snowman have a great chemistry and they make their characters intellectually stimulating, entertaining and very interesting, especially when they push themselves to the edge to catch the killer.


Do you wanna build a snowman? Join the hunt to the killer in cinemas October 13th. 

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