17 March 2018

THUNDERBIRD RELEASING PRESENTS: THELMA. (2017) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THELMA. (2017) DIRECTED BY JOACHIM TRIER. STARRING EILI HARBOE, KAYA WILKINS, HENRIK RAFAELSEN AND ELLEN DORRIT PETERSEN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is an electrifying supernatural thriller set in Norway that kept me pretty much riveted the whole way through. It's the story of a young girl called Thelma who goes away to college, her first time ever away from home properly.

She's been very sheltered throughout her eighteen years. Her wealthy, rather rigid religious parents have instilled strict Christian beliefs into the girl that don't sit well with the going-away-to-college edict of trying everything new and exciting that's on offer. Sex, drugs, booze, the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

Why, when I went away to college myself, I was lucky to fit in an occasional lecture around all the unaccustomed boozing and parties that sometimes went on for days. I was not the pride and joy of my teachers and professors, I'll tell you that for nothing. I was popular down the Student Union Bar but you do not want to know for what...

The main things I learned while I was away at college were how to pinch bog-rolls from the University jacks for private use, how to beg for store-credit from local entrepreneurs (as in, I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today) and that guys will say nice flattering things to you to get you to sleep with them but they rarely mean them. I say I learned that but that's a mistake I'm still making, lol. Maybe some women never really learn that particular lesson.

I'd love to go back to that time and fix my mistakes. I'd go to lectures, pass the exams and only have the odd sex-and-booze binge. But you can't go back in time, unless you're the guy from QUANTUM LEAP who did it every week there for a while. I'll just have to live with the memory of all that wasted time and effort. But trust me when I say I'd have it lasered out of me if I could. Catholic girls have enough to feel guilty about without adding to the list, lol.

Anyway, Thelma's parents are also extremely controlling. They call the girl every night she's away from home, leaving Thelma casting about feverishly for excuses if she's not at home in her student accommodation to take their call. They want to know what she's been up to, whom she's been meeting, even what she's cooked herself for her din-dins that night.

The Mum's in a wheelchair and the Dad's a big handsome bearded guy who's always in control, or so he appears. I immediately suspected him of some kind of sexual or religious abuse of his timid daughter but hold your horses. There's more to the situation than meets the eye, you can be sure of that.

Anyway, one day in the library, Thelma has a thoroughly unexpected fit of some sort that completely throws her. The doctors want to check her for epilepsy, which would be alarming and inconvenient for a young girl about to embark on a life away from home and parents for the first time. What a disastrous crimp in your plans for your life that would be.

One good thing comes out of Thelma's unexplained fit. A girl called Anja approaches her at the college swimming baths. She's seen Thelma at the library having the fit and she wants to introduce herself and say hi. The two girls quickly become fast friends. They hang out together and socialise on campus together.

Thelma feels crippled with guilt when she drinks alcohol and even smokes weed at a student party (the 'weed' smoking scene is so cringeworthy, you want to die of shame for poor stupid Thelma). She confesses the drinking to her father, who benevolently forgives her. 

Maybe it won't be the end of the world, he says. But if that's how guilty the girl feels after imbibing two lousy beers at a party, imagine how bad she feels when she realises that she's developing feelings for the stunning Anja...

Anja looks like a young Angelina Jolie, with stick-thin limbs, long dark hair, a wide generous mouth and fabulous teeth. Hell, I was starting to develop feelings for her myself, lol. She's gorgeous. So gorgeous that the film-makers only need to dress her in a plain grey T-shirt and black leggings and runners because beauty like hers needs no other adornment. Wow. Wasn't that divinely poetic of me?

But one day Anja completely disappears off the face of the earth and Thelma knows, she just knows, that somehow it's her fault. How does she know? The key to the mystery is in the vivid, nightmarish flashbacks to her childhood.

Why is Thelma's Mum in a wheelchair? Why is Thelma an only child? Why does Dad keep Thelma on such a tight leash? What exactly is he afraid of unleashing if he takes his eye off the ball for a minute? And, in a sinister turn of events, who lies rotting and permanently drugged-up in a psychiatric hospital bed, never to be released again?

And what does that have to do with Thelma, who goes through the torments of the damned as hospital staff try to induce an epileptic fit in her so that they can study her brainwaves while she's fitting? That stuff was really harrowing. There's even a warning at the start of the film that all the flashing lights might be dangerous for viewers with epilepsy. I'll say they might...!

I loved the entire film except for the last two or three minutes. I understood everything up to that point but these last few minutes left me bamboozled and, dare I say, disappointed. Otherwise this was a gripping, unnerving supernatural thriller that you would be well advised to check out.

Shades of Stephen King's CARRIE here make this a nice eerie watch. I told you earlier that there's more to this delicious slow-burner than meets the eye, so watch it and see for youself. You'll be glad you did.

THELMA is available to buy now from THUNDERBIRD RELEASING.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com








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