“Its all so quiet”
The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre is a slasher film from Iceland. It’s a film that has been compared to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in my opinion it’s closer to The Hills Have Eyes in respect of plot & style. It does have one thing in common with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre & that is Gunnar Hansen (The original Leatherface) a good actor who has sadly made some truly awful movies. It should be noted that while Gunner Hansen receives top billing on the promotional material for RWWM, he has a small cameo role in the movie, nothing more.
The movie’s plot is simple enough. A group of tourists head out to sea to go whale watching. During the trip there is an accident & the ship’s captain is badly injured. For the group it seems that salvation is at hand when they are picked up by another ship. Unfortunately for them, they are picked up by a now redundant whaler & its crew are a family of deranged killers.
In truth RWWM is a bog standard slasher that fails to bring anything new to the table. It does have its moments, including a decapitation that almost makes it worth watching the whole movie just for that scene. Sadly it all gets a bit muddled, watching the film, you’re never sure who the lead character is. I accept it’s an ensemble piece but the focus of the movie keeps switching between a couple of the characters as if they were vieing for the lead. Added to that an entire strange subplot involving Endo’s escape. It’s other major flaw is one which it shares with so many slasher movies, people doing really stupid things at really stupid times. For example when one of the tourists knocks one of the killers unconscious, he leaves him with his shotgun rather than taking it for his own protection! The strangest being a traumatized woman who sings Bjork’s It’s All So Quiet over the ship’s tannoy! If this had been an American slasher I don’t think I would have been as critical but I expected more, this got me thinking…
I think when I sit down to watch a foreign language film, be it European or Asian, I expect more than if it were a Holywood movie. Lacking the kind of financial clout that the major US studios have & can throw at a movie. It seems to me that the foreign language films have quite simply had to be better movies to survive. A point that doesn’t seem lost on Holywood who now seem to be remaking any foreign movie they can get the rights for. The sad fact is that even with a decent template (the original movie) they still manage most of the time to completely fuck it up. Shutter, Quarantine, A Tale of Two Sisters, Mirrors, the list goes on. I know this may make me sound elitist & snobbish, maybe i am but I stand by my view that the foreign language movie industries produce better movies than Holywood. Of course Holywood has its place & has made some truly wonderful movies but certainly in the horror genre it is some way behind Asia & Europe.
Anyway back to RWWM, I cannot, in closing recommend this movie. There are so many better slashers out there & sadly despite an eye-catching title RWWM is just too derivative.