Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 96 minutes
Stranger Says: A small Norwegian town is plagued by a series of mysterious fires. In possibly related news, the fire chief’s teenage son (Trond Hjort Nilssen) sure seems to know exactly where to go whenever the sirens start ringing. Director Erik Skjoldbjaerg (the original Insomnia) dispenses with the whodunit quickly, in favor of steadily worming his way deeper into the head of the discomfitingly serene central character. The film hits the creepy spot early and often, with a tangible sense of the growing toll on the community and some disturbingly gorgeous flames. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
SIFF Says:Set in a coastal town in Norway in 1978, and based on actual events, Pyromaniac ntroduces us to a small tight-knit community where everyone knows your name and no one has any secrets. After a year in the military, 19-year-old Dag returns to his parents’ house and joins his father, the local fire chief, volunteering for the fire brigade. However, this summer isn’t as laid-back as everyone expects, as a series of seemingly random arson incidents create a sense of unease that spreads throughout the town. What starts as burnt-down shacks and empty barns soon threatens local businesses and family homes, and the mystery erupts into a full-blown panic. Family ties are severed and relationships crumble as the search for the culprit accelerates―but no one could suspect the handsome, young war-hero son of the fire chief, could they? From the director of Insomnia (1997) and Prozac Nation comes a menacing, slow-burning (pun intended) psycho-thriller that will make you cautious of campfires and suddenly suspicious of your next-door neighbor.
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