Drowning Ghost (Strandvaskaren) (Sweden)

Screened at Screamfest LA:

Not since the mid-nineties have I been this disappointed with a horror film- I wanted nothing more than to know that the dagger was in the coffin when it came to sexed up and dumbed down teenage horror films. I thought films like ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer,’ ‘Urban Legend’ and ‘Scream 2’ were finally a thing of the past- I guess nobody sent Sweden the memo…

‘Drowning Ghost’ begins as we are told the tale of this ‘Drowning Ghost.’ A man over 100 years ago killed three children and then drowned himself- only to return once a year to kill again. Sure sounds like we were about to enter Michael Meyer territory. Of course we shoot to present day and are introduced to a group of students at a school. One student is writing a paper on the legend, which means there are secrets to be discovered… this leads to the disappointing conclusion, where the killer ends up meeting a kid in a chat room in another state and setting up revenge on the unsuspecting victims around the campus (totally kidding). Point is we’re past that, way past that.

Although ‘Drowning Ghost’ was beautifully shot and directed- the talent was wasted on bad decisions and weak screen presence set up by these choices. For example, one specific scene found the killer hiding unseen in the shadows and when he grabs a student from behind, he drags em’ into this thick dark spot and kills the innocent victim. All you see are the feet cringing and hear the sounds of skin being pierced by something as the killer stabs his victim multiple times. It’s a freaking horror film- why imply the terror of the kill? Show it for gods sake! Then there’s the classic, drop the milk while blood fills the white liquid shot, which I’m seeing more and more as years pass.

Pure and utter recycled trash, which by the way Hollywood is remaking! Hopefully whoever owns the rights will remake it into an actual supernatural story and have this drowning ghost an actual boogeyman! The character was ultra cool and the myth was well scripted, but to relive the 90’s again was painstaking and unforgiving- there was never a worse time for horror in the history of film- and now people actually want to bring it back? ‘Drowning Ghost’ can sink all the way to the depths of hell for all I care- burn in hell you evil, evil film!!

Official Score