‘Protect your eyes… it gets inside your head’
Feed the Light – original title: Lokalvårdaren [“Local Nurse”] – is a 2014 Swedish avant-garde horror film co-written, produced and directed by Henrik Möller. It stars Lina Sundén, Martin Jirhamn and Jenny Lampa. The film features a synth score by Testbild.
When her daughter is abducted by her ex-husband, Sara takes a job as a cleaner tracks the missing child and its father to a mysterious institution. But once inside, she has to make an uneasy alliance with the sinister caretaker.
Worse, Sara finds herself trapped in a hallucinatory netherworld where reality turns amorphous, survival becomes parasitic, and an infested darkness lives and feeds in the light…
On June 27, 2017, Feed the Light was released on Blu-ray in North America by Intervision, who describe it as a “landmark in underground Swedish horror, inspired by equal parts H.P. Lovecraft, David Lynch, and something far more disturbing.”
- Making of Feed the Light
- The Lovecraft Influence: Interview With Co-Writer / Director Henrik Möller
Based, very loosely, on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour out of Space, Feed the Light is an ultra low-budget ($14,000) movie that makes up for any budgetary restrictions with a great deal of imagination and style. Shot in black and white (apart from intrusions of red, mostly in the form of blood, and sudden flashes of psychedelic colour), it’s a bizarre, hallucinogenic trip of a film.
Lina Sunden plays Sara, a young mother who is determined to snatch back the child that she has lost custody of. Tracking the father to huge warehouse, she breaks in, only to find herself in a strange, timeless world where a mysterious woman and her assistants are keeping a mysterious light source – and where strange shadow monsters lurk in the dark corners. This is a world where doors appear and disappear, and no one can leave – but as Sara makes her way through the various levels of the warehouse, looking for her missing daughter and a way to escape back into the real world.
Feed the Light is a film that is more about the atmosphere than narrative coherence – which is not to say that the film doesn’t make any sense (there’s actually quite a simple story at the heart of things) but simply that it is more concerned with creating visual nightmares and creeping the viewer out than in giving us a straight-forward story. In that, it succeeds well – the intentionally degraded monochrome and sepia visuals and the simple but effective shadow creatures, together with a succession of weird and unsettling characters, make this a dream-like experience that is best enjoyed by not worrying too much about what it all means, and instead allowing it to flow over you. However, things are kept together by Lina Sunden’s impressive performance, managing to make a not-especially likeable character still seem sympathetic.
There’s an almost old-fashioned underground cinema appeal about Feed the Light, and director Henrik Moeller does a fine job with minimal resources. This is well worth checking out.
David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA
“Möller wields an impressive array of camera angles and shot selections, never quite exhausting the possibilities of the looming hallways, and a rather fantastic “creature” that is shadowy and indistinct and, frankly, quite creepy and unsettling. Simon Möller’s unsettling sound design and the pounding, rhythmic, intoxicating musical score by Testbild! contribute to the feelings of unease and tension that build throughout.” Peter Martin, Screen Anarchy
“The soundtrack drones with creepy synth music by Testbild and a horrific soundscape by an entire company of different sound designers. The tempo is rapid not a single shot wasted. Certainly one of the best Swedish films in the last decade and a must-see for lovers of H.P. Lovecraft and the Silent Hill games.” Agent Sniff
“Intriguing originality… Acting is also mostly decent, but I felt the dialogue came off as a bit stale or even comedic at times. As for the leaps… well, I’m not entirely sure why certain things happened (and maybe that’s on purpose), but without spoiling the scenes I simply felt they brought out more sighs than curiosity.” Ronny Carlsson, Film Bizarro
Cast and characters:
- Lina Sundén – Sara Hansson
- Martin Jirhamn – The Caretaker
- Jenny Lampa – The Boss
- Patrik Karlson – VHS Men
- Ingrid Torstensson – Jenny as young
- Henrik Möller – The Messenger
- Karin Bertling – Jenny as older
- Henrik Rambe – Tommy Jonsson
- Niklas Jönsson – Victim
- Osten Östberg – Cleaners
- Jonas Frank Jirhamn – Cleaner
- Håkan Elliot – Cleaner
- Peter Persson – Cleaners