Pete’s New Wave Euro Horror Countdown | Number 2 – Finnish art-house chiller, Evil Rising

Country: Finland
From director Antti-Jussi Annila comes this atmospheric art-house chiller about sin and repentance. In the year 1595, the long war between Russia and Sweden is over, and brothers Erik and Knut are part of two groups marking new borders separating Finland from Russia. Along the way, the brothers kill a man they believe to be a Russian sympathizer and leave a young girl to die a slow death.

Later, Erik and Knut find a village in the middle of a swamp that was once home to monks. While stationed here, the brothers start to question their sanity when they become haunted by visions of the dead girl. Their only hope for salvation lies in a sauna (a white cube that looks like a modernist version of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey); a place where, it is believed, sins can be washed away.

Filmed in flashback, Evil Rising (aka Sauna) is a weird, but fascinating entry, being more psychological than pure horror – much the same way that Antonia Bird’s 1999 cannibal film Ravenous was. Light on action and heavy on angst, Evil Rising will be hard going for genre fans hoping for a full-on spookyfest or some heavy metal sword play. Games of Thrones this is not. Instead, this is a much more cerebral fare.

And a word of warning to anyone nervous about seeing naked men talking with religious fervor in cramped spaces – there’s a lot of it going on here.

Out now of DVD, released through Matchbox Films
Check back tomorrow for Number 1 in Pete’s Euro Horror countdown.