From Writer/Director Óskar Thór Axelsson comes the film I Remember You, which is a Mystery/Thriller set in the country of Iceland. It was originally released in Iceland back in May of 2017, and on November 10, 2017 made its ways select theaters and VOD thanks to the people at IFC Midnight. Now, on March 23, 2018, Shout! Factory release I Remember You on DVD/Blu-ray for a larger audience to see.
Originally titled “Ég man þig,” I Remember You begins with the suicide of an elderly woman found hanging from the ceiling of a church. This occurrence has prompted the local authorities to contact psychiatrist Freyr (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson: Black’s Game 2012, Atomic Blonde 2017) in order to help investigate such an incident, as well as several other deaths that have happened around the area. Freyr helps as best he can while fighting away sadness from the loss of his 7-year-old son who vanished without a trace three years prior.
Heading the investigation is Officer Dagný (Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir: Witchcraft 1999, Children 2006), who is certain these deaths are linked to one another. As she and Freyr delve deeper into the investigation, they soon come to realize that there is a possible connection to Freyr’s missing little boy.
While Freyr and Dagný search for clues, three people are slowly putting together a dilapidated house in an isolated, near-abandoned town. This trio includes loving couple Garðar (Thor Kristjansson: Black’s Game 2012, Dracula Untold 2014) and Katrín (Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir: Frost 2012), both of whom are dealing with their own bout of sadness and are hoping for a change with this new location. Helping to rebuild the house and to support Katrín, is friend Sara (Elma Stefanía Ágústsdóttir: City Of State 2011, Case series 2015), who has something on her mind keeping her from being truly happy. Soon, Katrín begins seeing and hearing things throughout the old house, fearing for her life as she tries convincing her husband that there is someone else in the house with them.
To tell the story, Axelsson puts his entire cast of characters against a cold, grey backdrop where, at almost every turn, darkness looms over every scene. The acting is fantastic and so is the cinematography, which will keep the viewer glued to the screen until the final moment is revealed. Unfortunately, while I Remember You has some redeeming qualities, the film will ultimately seem almost pointless.
There are head-scratching moments in the film that will surely cause one’s fingers to touch the very skull. For instance: Why was Freyr called to come look at the hanging body of the elderly woman? He is a psychiatrist! As soon as he got there, the police finally bring down the body, where it is then taken away in an ambulance. There is a moment where Dagný and Freyr are asking the husband of the deceased woman some questions about her untimely death, but instead of asking the right things Dagný begins accusing him of domestic abuse. Then there is a ghost child walking around, scaring everyone half out of their skin, but this just seems like a filler and a poor excuse at attempting to include I Remember You into the realm of Horror.
To make things worse, Dagný seems to have figured out who the ghost child is, piecing together the mystery all on her own, while making a few guesses and accusations—that may or may not be true! What a detective! There is also a creepy score happening during a few helicopter-views of the town, which is supposed to stir nervousness in the viewer but when the scene cuts to any of the actors, the stirring was all for naught. Moviegoers will also be treated to a few good laughs from character Katrín, as she falls down a flight of stairs, severely hurting her ankle, and is very able to walk around in the dark later on and down the same flight of steep stairs, no less, as if healed from a miracle of some sort.
Questions will arise as to whether or not the English translations of this movie are correct when the subtitles appear, and why when a certain keyword is found on many different walls not once is there a subtitle to tell the viewer what this word is. Also, the ending will surely cause steam and smoke to exit the nostrils of the viewer that had patiently sat watching the film. One other funny thing to mention is how the title bears no relevance whatsoever to what is happening in the film; it will make someone not want to remember what had been seen, period. During the final moments of the film, pay attention to the dialogue when a cellar door is mentioned in the house that Katrín had been putting together.
However, with all the negative out of the way, it is important to note how Writer/Director Axelsson has many great elements running though his bloodstream; he has a heart heavy for wanting to make great films. Axelsson was able to get the best portrayal of every character, providing the film its strongest suit with the superb performances of his actors. Even though the film may seem a misfire within the words of this review, there may be someone out there who will beg to differ and will embrace the dark mystery that unravels throughout over a hundred minutes of running-time. There is always something out there for everyone, right?
For strong directing skills, and great performances, but for a film that lacks much logic, and seemed to have clumsily included itself into the realm of Horror, CrypticRock gives I Remember You 2.5 stars out of 5 stars.