Title: Besökarna

Also known as:
The Visitors

Year: 1988

Genre: Horror / Supernatural / Suspense

Language: Swedish

Runtime: 109 min

Director: Jack Ersgard

Writer: Jack Ersgard, Patrik Ersgard

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094730/

After landing a new job, Frank moves his wife and their two children to their new home out in the country. With the new job and a new home that everyone loves, it seems all is perfect. That is until strange things start to happen in the house. With each day, the unexplainable occurrences increase but only Frank seems to be the one who things that something is not right. Now Frank must uncover the secrets to his home, before its too late.

Our thoughts:
I had never heard of "Besökarna" before until Ronny recommended it to me, saying that it's a classic supernatural horror movie in Sweden, and that it was really good. What's odd is that even though it's considered a classic over there, here in the US it seems to have remained relatively unknown. Well, it at least appears that way as I certainly haven't heard anybody bring it up before, and a bit of internet searching didn't turn up much either. Since I'm a sucker for any supernatural and haunted house flick, I figured I'd give it a whirl. After all, it certainly couldn't be any worse than the ones that are made by Hollywood.

The premise of the movie is pretty typical for supernatural flicks; family moves into a new house that seems to be perfect, but of course it turns out that it is anything but. One of the family members begins to notice and experience strange things, in this case, it's the father, Frank (Kjell Bergqvist) who notices these occurrences while his wife and two kids don't. Upon further investigation and getting help from a famous ghost hunter, he learns the dark secrets of his house. While the story maybe a bit typical, it is still very good because it was pulled off nicely.

Going by what Ronny told me, the movie does receive a lot of flack these days for being cheesy. Which to be honest, it is. The movie itself isn't entirely cheesy, it just has some moments where it is, like most movies from 80's. But really, it doesn't hurt the movie that much or the atmosphere. The movie does get one thing right though, and that is going by the old motto that less is more. "Besökarna" slowly builds its suspense and atmosphere by only doing little things to demonstrate that there is something strange going on in the house. Compared to most American ghost movies, where often it tries to get the audience with nothing but repeated cheap jump scares, and shows the ghosts right off the bat. The movie plays more with only giving us bits of strange sounds, and only showing small things, like footprints through dust and then having them disappear. In a way, it helps us to establish a connection with the character Frank because like him, we're experiencing all the things he is, a little bit at a time and trying to guess what's behind a locked door in the attic, much like Frank. "Besökarna" slowly builds momentum by increasing the amount of supernatural activity and what occurs within the house, and it picks moments to hit you with something big, like a brief appearance of a fullbody apparition, to get that adrenaline pumping and help keep you glued to the movie. Because of this constant slow build to something big, and then drops it back down afterwards, It actually manages to put the viewer on the supposed "roller coaster ride" that so many horror movies try to do but usually fail.

"Besökarna" does have its faults though, there are some cheesy moments in the movie (which is to be expected) and the child actors and the actors portraying some of the minor characters really aren't the best. Though Kjell Berggvist who plays Frank the husband, and Lena Endre who plays Sara the wife. Have a nice chemistry in the movie, and really help to sell the relationship and how it crumbles along with the increasing supernatural activity. Plus it was actually a nice change to see that it was the father character who comes to the children’s aid to save them from the ghost(s), instead of the mother. Overall, I'd say this is a movie worth checking out for those who enjoy or are looking for a good ghost flick.

Positive things:
- Good story.
- Does an excellent job of building suspense and atmosphere.
- Plays well on the method of less is more and only shows or does enough at appropriate moments.
Negative things:
- Revealed the demon at the end, which turned out to be pretty lackluster.
- The wife character, Sara, is a bitch.
- The ghost-busting weapon that is used in the movie was a bit too cheesy compared to the rest of things that go on in the movie.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 2/5

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