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Home | Film Review: Detour (Snarveien) (2009)

Film Review: Detour (Snarveien) (2009)


Explore your worst possible fears in this shocking horror thriller inspired by terrifying true events! Driving back to Norway, Lina and Martin reach a roadblock where a policeman tells them to take a detour deep into the Swedish forest. But soon one creepy incident after another leaves them stranded in the dark woods and everything seems much too bizarre to be accidental. What Lina and Martin don’t know is that they are under constant video surveillance and have been cast in the leading roles of a live Internet snuff movie with a definitive end.


The Detour” aka “Snarveien” is a Norwegian thriller that doesn’t offer anything new and is terribly predictable, but why did I like this film? I guess when the formula works and the proper care is taken, the movie, though it never takes us anywhere we haven’t been before, still works. Director Severin Eskeland keeps things moving at an exciting pace, and by keep the films runtime at a brisk 77min, there is no time to get bored. It never ceases to amaze me that something so contrived can be so darn entertaining. I guess professionalism and passion can go a long way on film.

Lina (Marte Cristensen) and Martin (Sondre Krogtoft Larsen) are on their way back to Norway, trying to smuggle a large sum of alcohol for a friends wedding back into the country when they encounter a roadblock.

The police officer shows them the detour that leads straight into the woods where they encounter mishap after mishap, each one worse than the next, until the find themselves in the middle of a nightmare where they discover that their every move is being filmed with surveillance cameras. They are led to a house where they are looking for help only to find a terrifying secret that may cost them their lives. Inspired by true events.

These types of films can be hit or miss. On the one hand, surprises are slim to none. I had hoped that my predictions were wrong but most of the time I was right. This can be frustrating when you want to be surprised by the film and are not. Something about “The Detour” felt real to me. I had read the film was inspired by true events, so maybe I had it stuck in my head or maybe the events played out in a more realistic manner than most films in
this genre.

The films two leads were incredibly likeable to me and I cared about what happened to them. The villains were a bit undefined and underwritten, which was a shame since they were an interesting group. And with the film being just over an hour long, there was a little bit of time there to flesh out their characters without boring the audience.

During the film’s opening sequence, I truly thought we were going to visit a film born from the “torture p*rn” boom and the film thankfully stayed away from the route. Instead, the director chose to build on each event that happens to them. Each one worse than the next, with our couple trying to avoid fights with one another and there was a strong chemistry between them. This is another rarity, I almost never feel anything for the leads in these films, but again, they felt real, their relationship felt real, and in turn, lent credibility to the proceedings.

So why isn’t this film a classic? There are several factors, the first being that the film is mostly predictable. It offered very few surprises and I always knew where things were headed. The second was the lack of brutal violence, most of which occurs off-screen but here could have been beneficial. The third was with such a short running time, a few more minutes could have been used to help flesh out the bad guys and help to make them a bit more frightening.

“The Detour” surprised me with its realism, technical proficiency, and strong cast. It was rather unfortunate that the script itself never really offered up many surprises. Many a director has proven themselves to be great filmmakers but lack in the writing department. I am not saying that Eskeland wrote a bad script, there were a few bad decisions made that could have been amended. I wish I could have felt the same way about the villains of the piece as I did our heroes. When that happens, a mediocre piece becomes truly frightening, this was a good start and interesting view.

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