Control is the major theme underrunning the Swedish dark comedy LFO, a film that revolves around an eccentric scientist Robert (played by Patrik Karlson) who is very much into the power he acquires over his hapless neighbors with the push of a button. Through what seems like years of research, Robert has finally discovered a certain low frequency that can be used to make others susceptible to any given suggestion or direction.
He’s quick to take advantage of his discovery, inviting over neighbors Linn (Izabella Jo Tschig) and Sebastian (Björn Löfberg Egner) into a prolonged science experiment.
Presented by Elijah Wood’s production company SpectreVision, I found LFO to be strange and rather darkly funny exploration of manipulation and power. Director and writer Antonio Tublen achieves good dialogue, like the banter that plays between Robert and his estranged spouse Clara (Ahnna Rasch) or his fellow researcher and potential business partner Sinus-San (Erik Börén), who is quick to suspect that Robert is hiding something from him.
His protagonist is a demented and downright evil scientist, but Karlson achieves a charismatic character who is creative as he thinks of things to do with the two humans under his control, achieving moments both uncomfortable and humorous. His musings in-between are deep and full of sardonic loathing for himself and for others.
Robert achieves a great deal of power throughout LFO with his low frequency find, despite my eagerness to see them shake off the creepy soundwaves that they’re constantly bathed in as Robert scrambles to set things right when the real world kicks in. Linn and Sebastian are beautiful subjects to their hunched master, only achieving rare moments of clarity when they realize they’re doing things they never would normally or finding themselves wondering why they’re borrowing coffee from the creepiest guy in the neighborhood.
Just over 90 minutes, LFO has adequate pacing and considerably better timing, especially when it goes for the laughs. Some might debate its label of psychological horror, but it satisfies cravings of discomfort among all the laughs.