June 3, 2016 Sensoria (Movie Review)
When it is time to movie into a new home, one has no idea what they will find when they get there: mold, bugs, water damage, or even broken windows. Although a place may be new to them, buildings can sometimes harbor histories that leave a mark, both physically and emotionally. Released January 22, 2016, Swedish film Sensoria shows how strongly some things can stick around, even years after the fact. Producer Christian Hallman (Desperately Seeking Seka 2002, Re: 2014) made his feature length directorial debut with Sensoria, a Supernatural Horror produced by Hallman and written by Hallman and Måns F.G. Thunberg (Från djupet av mitt hjärta 2014). The music was composed by Haim Frank Ilfman (ABCs of Death 2 2014, Another World 2014) while the special effects were created by both Magnus Gillberg (Wake Wood 2009, Feed the Light 2014) and brand new visual effects artist Christoffer Olovsson. Sensoria was filmed completely in Malmo, Sweden.
The movie starts out with Caroline (Lanna Ohlsson: Beck TV series, Behind Blue Skies 2010), a woman in her late thirties who has just broken up with her boyfriend and has moved into a new apartment. She is alone and depressed. Only her friend Emma (Alida Morberg: Insane 2010, Crimes of Passion: Roses, Kisses and Death 2013) comes by, but even those visits are not enough.
As Caroline mopes around, wondering what she is going to do with her life, she is visited by a little girl, My (newcomer Norah Andersen), who brings out Caroline’s motherly instinct. Caroline, who lost a baby girl at some point, cannot stop thinking about the fact that she is getting too old to have her own kids and welcomes the attention from My. But this apartment house holds secrets Caroline would never have imagined, and when they finally do come to light, Caroline may never be able to live them down.
The concept behind Sensoria is not a new one. Finding out that a new home is haunted has been done time and time again, from 1982’s Poltergeist, to 1979’s Amityville Horror, to 2009’s The Haunting in Connecticut. The tone was supposed to be mundane to show the lead character’s lack of color or spirit, but it just felt repetitive and boring.
Unlike Lucky McKee’s Roman (2006), this drawn out movie did not give the audience a slow burn with a shocking twist at the end. Instead, the movie ended with a soft pop rather than a big bang, leaving the viewer with more questions than answers. The film was dark – one wonders when Caroline was going to get the electricity turned on – and banal, repeating the same things from different angles continuously. See Caroline go up the stairs… see Caroline go back down the stairs… see Caroline light candles… see Caroline take a pill. Repeat.
It just seems that they had a lot of opportunity to tell more story: maybe something more in-depth about the little girl or Caroline’s history before she moved in or what she actually wants in life. She was so one-dimensional and depressing. While one understands that the point was to show her as slightly desperate and needy, the entire movie did not have to be devoted to showing that. Even more of an idea as to why the grandmother was worshiping whatever it was she was worshiping and her reasons behind what she finally did to My would have been welcome. Admittedly, the special effects for this movie were well done. They did not need to use fancy makeup or prosthetics to get the point across. The little girl was creepy enough on her own. There was a scene in the bathtub that was pretty spooky. Unfortunately, the entire movie could not be carried on this one scene alone. CrypticRock.com gives Sensoria 2 out of 5 stars.