If you’ve seen the trailer for Vidar the Vampire, you’re probably expecting a jovial and nonsensical spin on Vampire flicks–and it absolutely delivers in that regard. But what surprised me throughout the 80 minute runtime was everything that the film’s trailer doesn’t prepare you for. As funny as it is, there’s an unbelievable amount of heart and commentary sprinkled throughout. Pokes and nods to Christian lore, youth, friendship, and so much more ensured that I left my screening of Vidar with far more than a sore face from grinning. In fact, I’m still mulling over the final scene. On a budget of roughly $60,000, this small Norwegian team delivers a hilariously gruesome and heartfelt tale.

… a hilariously gruesome and heartfelt tale.

Vidar Haarr is a 33 year old, sexually frustrated, farmer who leads a Christian, monotonous, and strenuous working life on his mother’s farmstead in the Western outskirts of Norway. In a desperate attempt to break free from routine, Vidar prays to a higher power to provide him a life without boundaries. His prayers are eventually answered when a man claiming to be Jesus Christ appears on the farm and grants him a night that he’ll never forget. From here out, a bizarre and relatively disjointed chain of events begins to spiral out of control. Vidar himself tells his therapist that “this story don’t make no sense”, and he’s right. The narrative thread, while easy to follow, jumps from event to event with little setup. Luckily, these jumps in time always serve a purpose and almost feel necessary when recounting such a long period of time.

… Now let’s talk about aesthetics.

Vidar the Vampire looks like a million bucks (I mean that quite literally).

Vidar the Vampire looks like a million bucks (I mean that quite literally). The fact that this film was produced for under 100k defies reality. Visuals are crisp, effects are creative, and the gore is so good it’s almost tangible. After spending almost 5 years in production, there’s an unbelievable amount of polish and care in the final product. Combine that with excellent performances by all involved, and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.

But beyond the deadpan deliveries and stellar visuals lies a tale that is far more dramatic than expected. We’re shown how childhood events can shape a person; ultimately leading them to make decisions that will impact not only their present, but the rest of their lives. Vidar is scarred, and the latter half of the film trades the laughs for something darker and, frankly, more depressing as a result. While billed as a simple Horror/Comedy, Vidar the Vampire offers far more than audiences are likely to expect. If you like your comedy with a dash of despair, this is the movie for you. Recommended to anyone that’s ever had the “grass is greener on the other side” mentality.

Vidar the Vampire screened at the 2017 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.