A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cadaver is a Norwegian horror film (with English subtitles) set amid post-apocalyptic ruins in which a couple and their little girl are starving, struggling to survive. When they participate in what they expect to be a harmless theatrical event, their lives change horrifically forever. Desperate people are revealed to be craven and murderous. People are dropped into tunnels and attacked by men in bloody coveralls. Human hands are seen beside a meat-grinding machine. People are hung from meat hooks. One is impaled on a hook. A man slashes his own throat and blood gushes from the fatal wound. Cannibalism is a theme. A couple having clothed sex is seen briefly. Language includes "f--k."
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What's the story?
CADAVER poses a hypothetical post-apocalyptic Norway where the devastation after a nuclear bomb has left a city in ruins and the people desperate, hopeless, and hungry. Bodies lie where they fell. Buildings are decimated. Leo (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gulletad) huddle in their bombed-out home without enough food for themselves or their young daughter, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman). So when the local hotel invites neighbors to dinner and a show, everyone wonders what's the catch, but hunger drives many to eat the meal and watch the audience-participation performance. When Leo and Jacob, theater people themselves in their past life, participate, it soon becomes clear that the seemingly harmless event has a murderous underpinning. Dinner isn't what it seems. The actors aren't who they seem. The purpose of the evening isn't what it seems. Violence ensues with lots of blood, some theatrical and some real.
Is it any good?
The elements of the macabre in Cadaver are what this movie does well, but the big "secret" horror that's meant to surprise us in the end is obvious from the start, which makes the film feel slow. When the theater company offers its audience a "meal" during a famine, the first thought is, Where did they get enough food to share with a crowd of theater-goers? There's really only one answer to that question. On the other hand, the movie is beautifully made, with nearly every scene tinged with alarming red lighting, suggesting the bloody fate of the innocent attendees, and the bloody intentions of the plotting theater company members.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what you might do to stay alive in desperate circumstance. Do you think you would behave brutally if you saw no alternative? Why or why not?
How do people maintain their morals and integrity when the world turns to chaos?
Can the movie's plot serve as a metaphor for what people will do under sufficient stress? Do you think wartime situations also promote what is most horrific in humanity? Why or why not?
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