32 user 59 critic

Sauna (2008)

Unrated | | Horror | 24 October 2008 (Finland)
1:20 | Trailer
As a 25-year war between Russia and Sweden concludes, two brothers who are part of an effort to outline new border accords become undone by their actions, and their mistreatment of a young woman during their journey.


(as AJ Annila)


4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Viktor Klimenko ...
Rain Tolk ...
Kari Ketonen ...
Sonja Petäjäjärvi ...
Vilhelmiina Virkkunen ...
Taisto Reimaluoto ...
Ismo Kallio ...
Dick Idman ...
Ivo Kubecka ...
Elena Leeve ...
Isännän tyttären ääni (voice)
Elena Spirina ...
Rogosinin äidin tuutulaulu (voice)
Peter Holmlund ...
Ruotsalaisten tulkki


As a 25-year war between Russia and Sweden concludes, two brothers who are part of an effort to outline new border accords become undone by their actions, and their mistreatment of a young woman during their journey.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Wash your sins.




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

24 October 2008 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Evil Rising  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


€930,679 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The later scenes in the movie were shot first. For example Sonja Petäjäjärvi's character 'Poika' had her blood make-up already during her first takes, so the meeting scenes in the village (her first appearance in the movie) were shot later on. See more »


Modern day fillings are visible in the mouth of one character. See more »


[first lines]
Eerik: [Eerik just brutally killed a man with a knife] 73...
Knut: 73 what?
See more »

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User Reviews

Like guilt, this horror sticks with you
23 August 2010 | by (Cleburne, TX) – See all my reviews

Following the end of the decades-long war between Russia and Sweden, a group of soldiers from both countries is assigned the task of defining a new border. Among this group are Eerik and Knut, two brothers who couldn't be more different. The former is a vicious soldier who has been fighting his entire life, while the latter is a civilized collegian who came along due to his expertise in crafting maps. On a scouting run separate from the rest of the group, the two encounter a farmer and his daughter. Bad things happen and the brothers rejoin the expedition the next morning, but what transpired at the remote farm leads to severe feelings of guilt for Knut. He even feels that he's being followed. Continuing their trek across the barren terrain, the men eventually come across a mysterious town where no such place should logically exist. What's more, something seems very off with the inhabitants and, more importantly, with the sauna that stands just outside of the village's reach.

I caught this back in early December on a cold, dreary night. As much as I despise cold weather, it actually made for a fitting atmosphere in which to watch this film. Not just because of the snowy locales or skies drained of color, but also due to the chilling predicament of the characters and the weight of the film's themes. Sauna is a picture that festered in my mind for a good while afterward. I didn't know what to expect going in, but I came out thinking that this was one of the most intriguing horror films I had seen in years. I bought the DVD shortly after my initial viewing, though I still have yet to revisit it. All these months later, it continues to pop back into my head from time to time. It has stayed with me in a way that only a truly haunting piece of work could. I intend to re-watch it when I feel that the timing is right, not before.

The film boasts a strong period setting and some effectively unsettling moments (all about that first time Knut catches a glimpse of a figure across the swamp) set against a mood of pure despair. The characters here are as cold and gloomy as the atmosphere which surrounds them. The acting is resoundingly strong across the board, most notably that of Ville Virtanen as the bloodthirsty Eerik. His character is that of a murderous sociopath who has never known anything but war, yet Virtanen instills the part with a certain sense of empathy and regret underneath the seething hatred. We are also privy to cinematography that, while dark and drained of life, has an exquisite beauty to it. You really feel the chilled air right along with the characters. I'm still not sure that I fully understand everything that goes on in the film, but hey, half of the fun is speculating. There are numerous layers here to keep your mind busy with interpretation. Oh, and the ending is quite something as well!

Alas, discussion around the web appears to be sparse when it comes to this title. If you like eerie, artistic horror, you owe it to yourself to give Sauna a shot. You may not care for it, as this kind of film will never be for everyone, but you will witness one of the more unique genre entries in many a year. All in all, it's a fascinating film that is rewarding in more ways than I can count.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Opened To An Empty Theater? ena_simons
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