As a theatrical film debut, writer/director Magnus von Horn has created a chilling Swedish drama in The Here After. We follow John (Ulrik Munther) as he leaves a juvenile offenders unit, where he has spent the past two years for an unknown crime. Although ready to continue with his life and education in the small town he grew up in, the residents are not so ready to forgive and forget his crime.
The rising tensions manifest not only with the local town and other students, but also between John and his father Martin (Mats Blomgren). As the film progresses, we delve deeper into the crime that has been committed, and see just what affect it has had on John and those around him. Musician Munther, in his screen debut, is very well cast in this role; rage builds up as we see John trying to control his emotions, but also losing his way as his crime is slowly revealed.
The work of Polish cinematographer Lukasz Zal is another highlight of The Here After, as we see widescreen and long shots of John and those he comes into contact with. Although this style of storytelling will not be to everyone’s taste, the long scenes manage to project the isolation that John feels on his return, and the hidden narrative will keep the viewer looking for clues throughout.
Although clearly a slow-burner, The Here After is an intriguing story of the search for normality in the face of hostility. There is likely to be more complex dramas released in 2016, but The Here After is certainly worth a viewing, especially for those who are fans of Swedish cinema.
The Here After will be released on DVD on 4th July 2016.