March 29, 2009

Review: Sauna (2009)

Wow, another good horror flick from Scandinavia...

Taylor Rouviere
Cast Members of Note- The show-stealing Ville Virtanen and Tommi Eronen.

Two brothers head off into the deep recesses of 1500's Finland to draw a map with some Russians. Apparently, Finland was once a part of Sweden, but the Russians wanted it so they fought a war... I don't know. Don't ask me about Nordic History.

Brotherly love and/or hate.
The two brothers (one a happy-go-lucky solider that loves to kill, the other a map making wuss), kill a farmer and nearly rape his teen daughter, but decide to lock her in a root cellar instead. For the record, root cellars back in the 1500's were basically holes in the ground. Sounds nice, doesn't it? They just move along, leaving her to fend for herself, because they have a border to define. Men!

"She's either gonna get raped, or left behind to die. Not sure yet."
While trying to fairly divvy up the land that will become Finland one day, they come upon a creepy village with a bunch of old people and an even older building which we find out is a "Sauna." Things start to get really weird here, as one of the brothers becomes haunted by the girl they left behind, and the other by a girl who looks like a boy, whom he may want to rape.

I won't spoil anymore of what happens here, but suffice it to say that no one gets raped, but men do bathe each other gently. Twice.

"Sauna? It looks like a rape shack. I'll wait out here."
Brilliantly directed, and even more brilliantly acted, Sauna is a really damn good movie. Ville Virtanen steals the show as the tormented and war-ravaged older brother, giving a hell of a performance that leaves me wanting more from him.

It's visually breathtaking, moody and dark, and very sparse. Antti-Jussi Annila has a bright future ahead of him in directing, and I hope he does more genre work. I can't say that this movie "scared" me very much, but it did manage to keep me on the edge of my seat and made me yell things like "Don't go in there!," "Run!," and "Don't go in there, just run!" Very atmospheric and effective.

Great shot, great actor.
Not one, but two scenes of naked men bathing each other... say what?!? Things must have been rough and tumble in 1595 Sweden.

Especially for dogs.
What was with the ending? I'm a fairly smart individual (I think), and I'm still not sure what ended up happening.

Most of Sauna was blood-free, but when we did get the gore, it was pretty messy. The last 10 minutes or so is the big gore payoff.

Eye violence is never enjoyable.
Plenty of man ass and peen, but nothing of the female variety.

"To protect her. From you" or "All you had to do was come back."

Don't rape, kill, or abandon anyone. Ever.

If you do, you'll pay.
A wonderfully acted and produced film, Sauna is subtle yet effective in what it sets out to do. It's basically a morality play fused with elements of dread and head-scratching Horror. See it if you like to feel appreciated as an audience member, because this film will treat you well.


Sauna is available now on DVD.

She's in this.


  1. This sounds pretty good... I'll keep an eye out for it. I love me them supernatural horror flicks.

  2. what the hell happened at the end? so like the monks all killed themselves, then the villagers were actually the 74 - 75 sins the main dude made, then the brother took care of the ruskies and made the main dude redeem himself by being sucked into hell, not sure how or why the little girl had to die, i think though because that represented his last kill, the girl he left in the cellar, so the village was really all the main dudes killings, that's why there was only 1 kid...
    or not...

  3. Yeah, I honestly don't know. I get what happened in the Sauna, the one brother "changing" and eventually calling the other to task for his sins, but the end with the girl... I'm not sure what she represented...

    Great movie, just need to see it again.

  4. ya while this movie looked and sounded cool the whole time i was watching it i have no idea what the hell happened the whole time.
    to me it seemed as if the main character just ran around from one hut to another yelling things at people
    im not sure it was way to confusing for me or anyone else with an average intellect
    maby if i watched it again and paid more attention?
    but it was just to boring for me to sit through again

  5. Where is the picture of the girls in the sauna from?

  6. Where is the pictures of the girls in the sauna from?

  7. The girl in the Sauna is from Hostel.

  8. Eerik wanted better things for his brother. He also tried to free the girl. Neither of these resulted in redeeming his pasts sins.

  9. I'm watching this movie over and over again, and pay attention to it, I just can't understand what this movie all about, especially for the last 10 minute.. Can somebody tell me what happened with blood in the river? Please..

    Thank you guys in advance..

  10. Ok, Anon, here goes our take on the movie...

    The Sauna represents Erik's conscience. All of the things he has done have finally come back to haunt him, and he has to pay for them.

    The blood in the river... well maybe thats showing us that his sins are finally being washed clean, because he's paid for them.

    It's all very symbolic of sin, guilt, and forgiveness. You can really take it many ways, but that's what we took away from it.

  11. Saving the girl at the end is the one good and hopeful thing the older brother has done, but his own evil destroys her and symbolically all that he touches. It is his ultimate punishment - to know that even his best intentions have been swallowed up by the corruption he has become. The girl is the sacrifice of the innocents (ie virgins) to atone for the sins of the many. At the same time, she represents all those innocents who die pointlessly as the fruits of war.