7 Best Horror Movies Inspired by Norse Myths and Folktales

The Norse mythology has been a great inspiration for numerous horror movies over the years. From the Norse gods to the legendary creatures such as the giants, werewolves, and dragons, there are plenty of fascinating elements to draw from. This list explores some of the best horror movies related to Norse myths and folktales. For those interested in both mythology and horror, these movies offer a unique blend of both genres.

Midsommar (2019)

“Midsommar” is a 2019 horror movie directed by Ari Aster, who also wrote the screenplay. The movie stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, and Vilhelm Blomgren. The film’s cinematography was handled by Pawel Pogorzelski, while the producers were Lars Knudsen and Patrik Andersson.

The film explores the concept of Norse paganism and its roots in Swedish folklore. The film takes place in a remote Swedish village, where a group of friends visit a once-in-a-lifetime festival that occurs every 90 years. The movie explores themes such as grief, toxic relationships, and the dangers of blindly following tradition.

One of the standout aspects of “Midsommar” is its stunning visual and audio design. The film’s vibrant and colorful cinematography effectively contrasts with the movie’s disturbing and graphic content, creating a unique and unsettling atmosphere. The score, composed by Bobby Krlic, effectively builds tension and unease throughout the film. Additionally, the performances from the cast, especially Florence Pugh, are top-notch and add depth to the movie’s characters.

One criticism of the film could be its slow pacing, which may not be suitable for some viewers. Additionally, the graphic and disturbing content may be too intense for some audiences. However, “Midsommar” is a well-crafted horror movie that effectively utilizes Norse mythology and its roots in Swedish folklore to create a unique and disturbing experience.

Draug (2018)

“Draug” is a 2018 horror movie directed by Karin Engman and Klas Persson. The screenplay was written by Klas Persson and Per-Olov Jansson, while the cinematography was done by Andreas Wessberg. The film stars Albin Grenholm, Nina Filimoshkina, and Thomas Hedengran in the lead roles.

The movie revolves around a Swedish soldier sent on a mission to investigate the disappearance of a group of soldiers in 17th century Norway. The group is believed to have been killed by a mythical creature known as the Draug, which is said to haunt the Norwegian wilderness. Gustav is accompanied by a team of soldiers and a Norwegian guide named Liv, who is familiar with the area.

The Norse mythology aspect of the film is mainly focused on the Draug, a creature from Norwegian folklore. According to legend, the Draug is a ghost or undead creature that haunts the coastlines of Norway and causes destruction and death. The film uses this creature as the main antagonist, and its appearance and actions are based on the traditional tales.

One of the positive aspects of the movie is its effective use of tension and atmosphere. The filmmakers create a sense of isolation and dread through the use of the remote, snowy Norwegian landscape and the eerie sound design. The performances are also strong, with Albin Grenholm delivering a convincing portrayal of the haunted and traumatized Gustav.

The Ritual (2017)

“The Ritual” is a 2017 British horror movie directed by David Bruckner and written by Joe Barton. The movie stars Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton as a group of old friends who go on a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness to honor their deceased friend. The film’s cinematography was handled by Andrew Shulkind, and it was produced by Jonathan Cavendish and Richard Holmes.

The film takes inspiration from the ancient myths and legends of Scandinavia, using them to create an eerie and foreboding atmosphere. The characters encounter strange symbols and markings in the woods, and soon begin to realize that they are not alone in the wilderness.

The film’s positive aspects lie in its effective use of atmosphere and tension. The cinematography is particularly striking, with the beautiful Scandinavian wilderness serving as a stark contrast to the ominous and foreboding events that take place. The movie builds up tension and suspense effectively, creating a sense of dread and terror that builds to a satisfying climax.

While “The Ritual” received generally positive reviews from critics, some reviewers did criticize the film for its predictable plot and overuse of horror tropes.

Skyggenes Dal (2017)

“Skyggenes Dal” is a Norwegian horror/fantasy film released in 2017. The film was directed by Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen and stars Adam Ekeli, Kathrine Fagerland, and John Olav Nilsen. The screenplay was also written by Gulbrandsen.

The film tells the story of a young boy named Aslak, who lives in a small village surrounded by a forest. After his family’s dog disappears, Aslak begins to fear that a mysterious creature is lurking in the forest. As he tries to uncover the truth, his imagination runs wild, and he begins to believe that the creature is a mythical being from Norse folklore.

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Although the film does not directly reference any specific Norse myths or legends, it does draw upon the themes of Norse mythology and folklore. The film takes place in a remote, isolated community surrounded by a dense forest, which is a common setting in Norse mythology. Additionally, the film explores themes of darkness, death, and the unknown, which are prevalent in Norse mythology and beliefs.

One of the strengths of “Skyggenes Dal” is its atmosphere. The film’s stunning cinematography captures the haunting beauty of the Norwegian landscape, creating a sense of unease and foreboding. The film also benefits from its strong central performance by Adam Ekeli, who imbues Aslak with a sense of vulnerability and innocence that makes his journey all the more compelling.

Thale (2012)

Thale is a Norwegian horror-fantasy movie released in 2012. Directed by Aleksander Nordaas, the film tells the story of two crime-scene cleaners named Elvis (Erlend Nervold) and Leo (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) who discover a hidden room in the basement of an isolated house. In the room, they find a mute and naked woman named Thale (Silje Reinåmo), who is not quite human. The two men take her to their office to keep her safe and try to uncover her true identity.

The cinematography in Thale is one of its strongest aspects. The film takes place in the beautiful and eerie forests of Norway, and the cinematographer, Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen, perfectly captures the haunting atmosphere of the location. The sound design is also noteworthy, as it contributes greatly to the film’s overall tone.

Another aspect of the film that stands out is its use of Norwegian folklore, specifically the huldra, a type of forest-dwelling creature. The film incorporates the mythology in a way that is both intriguing and chilling, adding depth to the story.

The performances in Thale are also impressive, particularly Silje Reinåmo’s portrayal of Thale. Despite the character’s lack of dialogue, Reinåmo’s facial expressions and body language effectively convey Thale’s emotions and motivations.

While Thale is a slow-burn horror movie, it manages to build tension and intrigue throughout its runtime.

Vittra (2012)

Vittra is a Swedish horror movie directed by Kjell Sundvall and released in 2012. The film centers around the character of Ida, a young woman who moves with her family to a remote cabin in the Swedish forest. As she begins to explore her surroundings, Ida discovers an ancient creature lurking in the woods, known as a Vittra. The Vittra is a type of Norse forest spirit that has been known to cause mischief and destruction.

Vittra draws heavily from Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore to create a sense of mystery and unease throughout the film. The Vittra itself is based on ancient Nordic legends of forest spirits that inhabit the wilderness, and the film also incorporates themes of paganism and witchcraft.

One of the strengths of Vittra is its effective use of practical effects to create a convincing and terrifying depiction of the Vittra creature. The film’s cinematography also contributes to its eerie atmosphere, with moody and atmospheric shots of the forest and the isolated cabin.

Trolljegeren (2010)

“Trolljegeren” is a Norwegian found-footage horror movie directed by André Øvredal. The movie was released in 2010. The film’s main cast includes Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, and Johanna Mørck.

The story follows a group of three Norwegian college students who are investigating a series of bear killings in the remote countryside. They soon discover that the true culprit is not a bear, but a government-employed troll hunter named Hans (Jespersen) who is tasked with controlling Norway’s troll population.

“Trolljegeren” is based on Norwegian folklore and features a wide variety of trolls, each with their unique characteristics and abilities. The movie effectively blends humor and horror, making it an enjoyable watch for fans of both genres.

The cinematography and visual effects are also noteworthy, with the trolls looking convincingly realistic despite the film’s modest budget.