“Apparently she’s hungry.”
“… Canned goods.”
“… Canned goods.”
Thale was recommended to me last year by Jonas Albrecht, but it hadn’t been released in the US yet. Now it’s available (for free, with very annoying commercial interruptions) on Hulu. I’d urge you to rent it elsewhere, though, as the commercials really interrupted the flow of the film.
I liked Thale quite a lot, as it turns out. It’s not really horror, more… supernatural fantasy with horror elements? It doesn’t have much in the way of traditional horror beats, there’s more of a whimsy to it. (I Say this even though a character gets an automatic rifle shoved through his chest and the opening scene involves a dismembered corpse.)
What we have are two guys, Leo and Elvis, who work for a ‘crime scene cleanup’ business. Elvis is new and doesn’t have the strongest stomach. You get the impression that he’s not been the most reliable person and that he’s trying to get his act together. Leo is more stoic and laid back. Both come across as very likeable, and the actors manage to convey a lot of personality with not much dialogue.
They’re called to a job at a rural cabin where the body of an old man has been gnawed on and strewn about by animals. In the process of cleaning up the mess they come across a hidden series of rooms in the basement. In these rooms they find a very strange girl named Thale. A girl who may not be precisely human.
The actress who plays Thale does an amazing job. With no lines whatsoever, she has to use her face and body language to convey meaning and emotion, and she’s more than up to the task. All the actors are above average, especially for a low-budget production like this, but she’s given the difficult task of carrying a huge chunk of story without being able to say a word – and kills it.
I dunno – it’s weird. It’s a quiet little character film for a lot of it. Yeah, there are fantastical creatures, a government conspiracy and the main characters all have secrets they’re keeping from each other, but that stuff never gets heavy, never really overwhelms the mood. Thinking about it now, it may be a little too light, a little too naïve, and the ending ties things up a little too neatly – but I really enjoyed watching it and was happy to have a ‘horror’ film that didn’t pander to/involve humanity’s baser instincts.
Things I noted as the movie went along:
- Maybe it’s just me, but if something moves in a tub full of milky fluid while I’m exploring a creepy hidden basement? TIME TO GO HOME.
- The whole ‘main character moves, revealing creepy thing behind them’ still makes me jump
- Audio work is really good as well
- Machine gun through the torso. Yikes.
- Some of the CGI is a little dodgey, but not as bad as I was expecting.
So, yeah, a nice little film. Happy to have had the chance to see it.