The Norwegian post-apocalyptic film KADAVER (2020, streaming on Netflix) is visually artistic and powerful, but its story is marred by Hollywood tropes, predictable twists, and the lack of a discernible character arc for the protagonist.
A nuclear disaster has left the world in smoggy ruins, with the survivors in one Norwegian city slowly starving. One day, a herald arrives on the street to announce a play will be staged at a nearby grand hotel. When a family–Jacob, Leonora, and their young daughter–accepts, they find themselves trapped in a horrific game. The guests must don golden masks and are then invited to walk the hotel, seeing vignettes played out for their amusement, which are of course traps. Separated from her family, Leonora must find them–and survive.
It’s a great premise, but its execution turns up a mixed bag. Visually, the film is very strong, almost beautiful in its apocalyptic atmosphere. The acting is solid. Story wise, there’s little else carrying it forward, as the big reveal as to what the ultimate point of the game is is fairly broadcast from the get-go, the game itself doesn’t last long, the film leans heavily on predictable Hollywood survival horror twists and tropes, and Leonora survives more by luck than anything else and doesn’t change or learn anything in the process, resulting in an ending that sort of just ends.
So overall I have a hard time recommending this one, but I certainly appreciate the love that went into putting it together, and for post-apoc fans, there’s much to appreciate.