Queer week of Horrortoberfest is nearing the end and we have a movie that tackles one of the scariest subjects of all; spending time with your ex. Rift, or Rökkur in the original Icelandic, has the clever title of that being the name of the place where everything happens but, you see, there is also a “rift” between the two main characters.
Gunnar receives a phone call in the middle of the night from his ex boyfriend, Einar. The message is cryptic and worries Gunnar enough that he feels that he needs to go check on Einar to make sure he isn’t going to do something like try to commit suicide. When he gets out to the cabin in Rökkur, he finds Einar isolated from the rest of the world and decides to stay in order to make sure everything is ok. Over the next couple days, the two of them will be haunted by the memories of their past relationship and also by, like, an actual ghost as well.
I’ll start with what the movie does well and move on to the varied issues I had with it. As a dramatic movie about the complexities of relationships and especially homosexual ones; the movie does a great job of presenting these characters with all of their flaws. The main actors, Björn Stefánsson and Sigurður Þór Óskarsson, both do an excellent job of carrying a film that has almost no other characters in it. That’s about where the good ends, since this film feels like it forgot it was supposed to be a horror film until three quarters of the way through. Barely anything particularly spooky of note happens until the hour and twenty mark and even when things do start getting creepy; so much of it feels nonsensical and random.
I’d be amazed if you don’t guess what’s going on here within the first 20ish minutes. That isn’t to say that a horror movie needs to have a twist you never saw coming in order to be good but it feels like the movie doesn’t really bother playing with even the basic premise that it has. While the actors are good and the chemistry between them works, the pacing of the movie is also so glacial (haHA Iceland) that you can’t help but want there to be more going on. The script isn’t compelling enough to stand alone as a drama and there just isn’t enough tension for this to really work as a horror movie. You end up with a competently made film that doesn’t really know what it wants to be.
It isn’t terrible but I couldn’t recommend it to anyone. Clocking in at almost two hours means that you can’t even put this on as a quick fun film just to check it out. Perhaps others would find more to enjoy in this one but I think I was only truly engaged by the movie for maybe 20 minutes total.
Score: 2.5 out of 5