A fast-paced, frenetic chase movie that rattles along full throttle from virtually first minute to last, Escape is another slice of Nordic cinema that is guaranteed to entertain.

Put together by the directorial and acting teams that brought the recent horror trilogy Cold Prey to the screen, this sends things back in time – to 1383 to be exact.

Stripping things back to the bare essentials, director Roar Uthaug eschews over-complicated plot strands, long-winded exposition or languid storytelling in favour of brisk intros and a real sense of urgency and tension – and it really works.

The film centres on teenage Signe (Isabel Christine Andreasen), who is taken captive by a bunch of brutal band of killers after they slaughter her parents and her younger brother in front of her very eyes.

But the twist on this bunch of merciless killers is that they are led by a woman – the feisty Dagmar (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), who plans to use Signe as a breeding machine to try and produce a baby sister for her other surrogate daughter/kidnap victim, Frigg (Milla Olin).

Before long though the two young girls strike up a friendship, which accelerates dramatically when Frigg elects to cut Signe free, allowing the two to go on the run, with the killers in hot pursuit.

From that moment on Escape is exactly what it says on the tin – a hectic hunt through some stunning Norwegian post- Black Death scenery, with the occasional brutal death to spice things up, as Signe proves that she is more than up for the fight.

Flukt

The press release for this flick makes constant reference to The Hunger Games and, to be fair, you can see where they are coming from – after all, Escape centres on a strong heroine, features a budding relationship between two young girls at its core and showcases some decent violence of the crossbow variety.

But rather than simply feature some cardboard cut-out villains like the Suzanne Collins novel did, Escape makes the canny decision of including a back story for Dagmar that elevates her well above your regular big-screen baddie.

In fact, the reveal throws you as a viewer somewhat, but never to the extent that you stop rooting for Signe and Frigg.

Special mention must also go to the locations – I know I made a passing mention to them earlier, but it is worth reiterating just how stunning Norway looks on screen, from lush forests to barren rock formations, and the landscape really adds an extra layer to the on-screen action.

The performances across the board are strong, from Andreasen’s impressive turn as the victim-turned-cold-eyed-warrior Signe, Berdal’s steely-eyed villainess Dagmar, through to a bunch of villainous heavies who add the requisite menace.

Clocking in at under 80 minutes there is barely time to draw breath, but Escape pretty much grabs you from the get-go and drags you along for the ride – thoroughly recommended.

EXTRAS: Visual effects featurette, deleted scenes, blooper reel

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.