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Psalm 21
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Psalm 21 More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Not bad at all

Author: heartstream from Sweden
24 March 2011

Why does this movie have such low rating? It's definitely worth a lot more. First this is a horror movie. If you expect Oscar winning dialog, well you are watching the wrong type of movie. If you expect every little detail to be correct or that they don't speak the correct dialect for that part of Sweden, don't watch it. All movies have mistakes let's not forget that. Now let's look at what we have here. It's quite a basic set up for a horror movie, no real surprises there. The acting is over all good to very good. The main actor is on the verge of overacting from time to time especially in the beginning but he pulls it together. The storyline isn't hard to follow, but you have to pay attention though. For a horror movie it's actually quite good. Compared to a lot of "horror" movies out there this is actually one of the better ones in the last few years. If you like the American style "everything is explained to you so a 5 year old can understand" this might be to tough for you. If you like the Asian style "the movie is over and nothing is explained and you have to guess and try to puzzle it together for hours", this might be to easy for you. This mixes both of those and finds a nice middelground of storytelling. There's so many really awful horror movies that has gotten way better rating so I'm surprised that this doesn't have at least 6/10. Intentionally I haven't summed up the plot or written any "spoilers". Others have already done that and I really want you to give this movie a fair chance without giving anything away.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Messy Swedish Horror Film

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
19 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Stockholm, the priest Henrik Horneus (Jonas Malmsjö) is beloved by his parish flock, and in his sermon, he frequently mentions the Psalm 21 that is the favorite of his father and also priest Gabriel (Per Ragnar) that lives in Hammerdal.

Henrik has relationship problems with his son Jesper that lives with his mother Elsie (Gunvor Pontén) and is spending his birthday with him. When Jesper is ready to go home with his mother, Henrik's girlfriend Karolina (Julia Dufvenius) receives a phone call from the coroner of Hammerdal telling that his estranged father has been found drowned in the Dead Lake. Henrik decides to drive alone in the middle of the night to his father's hometown to attend the funeral and learn what has happened to him.

Out of the blue, a person appears on the dark road and Henrik runs over her. Henrik pulls the car over but he does not see anybody on the road. Henrik returns to the car but it does not start, so he walks to a small farm to ask for help. He sees lights in the barn and he sees a blond little girl. When he talks to her, she transforms into an evil creature. Hentik runs to the house and he meets a weird family that lodges him.

Henrik has scary nightmares and daydreams and fells like he is trapped in hell. He learns that his father was murdered and dumped in the lake. Further, he has already been buried and sooner Hemrik finds the truth about Gabriel. When Henrik returns to his parish, he questions the nonexistence of hell declared by the Swedish Church in 1983.

"Psalm 21" is a messy Swedish horror film that has a promising beginning but becomes boring and senseless. The screenplay is absolutely confused and there are scenes without explanation. For example, why Henrik is seduced and has sex with the demon-girl in the barn? His offensive final speech to his flock seems also to be out of the context and gives the sensation that Henrik is deranged or possessed. If Henrik has learned the truth, he should be more careful and prepare his congregation to embrace the new ideas. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "Salmo 21" ("Psalm 21")

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

My first impression thoughts

Author: Kane610 from Sweden
23 September 2009

Saw this one yesterday at a filmfestival in Lund.

The script itself wasn't anything out of the ordinary (I won't spoil it, but you know the drill), you follow a person going to the middle of nowhere because something happened to someone close to him and during the story remembers frightening stuff.

The acting was the good part of the film, especially Jonas Malmsjö who was close to being over the top but never reached it, it was a good balance he held almost all the way through. The supporting actors where mostly good, though they didn't all the time have the best material to work with, but during the better parts they shined. Especially well did Per Ragnar (Låt den rätte komma in) who even though only had a minor roll got good material and also made the best out of it.

I need to see this movie a second time to reflect on my first thoughts but I think I will stand by my review without any alterations after a second viewing.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Something more than just a horror flick

Author: lovefork from United States
8 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I felt compelled to write a review of this movie. This movie actually has a lot of heart and there is more to it than most seem to think.

It is, at it's base, somewhat of a horror movie. There also exist thoughtful undertones that force you to think. Not in a who-done-it kind of way. It's far more cerebral.

If you watch this movie as a character exploration and don't sit impatiently waiting for the next scare, you will begin to see a man dealing with his tortured spirit. I found it moving in several instances.

Highly recommended!!!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

criticism towards religion

Author: trashgang from Midian
10 January 2012

I was a bit afraid to watch another flick in the 'horror collection' series. But luckily this one did deliver the goods. The use of the camera was well done and they even washed the colours to add the creepiness toward this flick. Although the effects were CGI it didn't bother me at all because the used CGI to change faces just like they do in Asian flicks. This is also a perfect example that you can make a good horror without blood.

But this movie delivers even more. Due the fact that it concerns religion it also add something special towards religion. They included many questions about religion and some will say this is blasphemy but if you think about it you must agree. In Belgium they had serious problems with priests that misused children on a sexual base. And that's what this flick is about on some parts.

The acting was really good I must say. Especially the younger priest Henrik Horneus (Jonas Malmsjö) did a good job. It's funny that the director Fredrik Hiller chose to add male nudity in it when having sex with a young girl. And for being his first effort into direction he really knew his stuff, the way of editing delivered an extra touch to sometimes some arty shots. He even wrote this flick, but we all knew him as the Frisian Leader in Beowolf (2007).

This was really a nice surprise coming out of Sweden. I won't recommend it to gorehounds but if you can dig Asian horrors or horrors about religion then this is one for you and do listen to the preaching at the end, it will make you think...

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0,5/5 Effects 3/5 Story 4/5 Comedy 0/5

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A tedious horror film

Author: Argemaluco from Argentina
6 August 2011

The screenplay from Psalm 21 is quite similar to the modern Asian horror which is extinguishing. Or, more precisely, Psalm 21 takes some elements from the Asian horror and it combines them with a religious doctrine in order to create an unstable film which I found tedious, confusing and extremely repetitive.

The screenplay from Psalm 21 loses the control very quickly, and its paranormal elements are accumulated without a concrete purpose. Besides, I hated the excessive use of digital effects in order to create demonic faces without rhyme or reason; instead of scaring me, that trick produced me unintentional laughs sometimes, and irritation in other ones.

Despite some good technical aspects, I did not like Psalm 21, mainly because I found it lacking of any suspense, horror and ingenuity. In summary, I cannot recommend it, basically due to the fact that it ignored basic conditions; for example, it should have not made me snooze with such a frequency, nor it should have tried to scare us with the same cheap trick like 100 times.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

nonsensical rubbish

Author: johanberman from Sweden
31 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

#may contain spoilers# I just watched this movie last night and to tell the truth i didn't expect much since there are very few Swedish films worth seeing. But this one actually surprised me, in a very bad way.

The first thing that hit me was the dialogue and this is one of my major problems with Swedish films in general. Not one person in this entire country speaks this way, all the dialogue feels very forced and clinical. Not to mention the fact the movie is supposed to take place in the northern part of the country yet everyone talks in dialect that is used in our capital.

Plotwise there isn't anything even remotely original about it either, its a pretty basic ghost story(although you could argue that there are no ghosts at all) with a few twists that doesn't make any sense at all and an ending that just serves the directors wish to make his views on religion crystal clear.

As far as the horror elements go it is also very lacking, basically they're just Ringu inspired ghosts(one scene is almost copy/pasted right out of Ringu 1) and considering how scary the deep woods in northern Sweden can actually be at night they completely messed up by not taking advantage of that.

To sum up, this movie isn't worth your time or money. The acting is bellow average but with a script like this im not sure you can blame the actors. Add to this a nonsensical plot and the sub-par horror elements you will only be wasting your time.

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Spoilers follow ...

Author: Nigel P
12 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Stockholm, Henrik (Jonas Malmsjö) is a popular priest whose good relationship with his congregation sadly doesn't stretch into his home life, which is awkward to say the least. On hearing of his father's death, he drives through the night – against the wishes of his girlfriend – to his father's hometown. On the way, he knocks down a woman whose body then disappears.

He takes lodgings with a very strange family and sees a little girl in the barn outside. The girl transforms into a CGI demon and vanishes. Then he meets other people who transform into CGI demons, including a teenage girl who appears to seduce him in the barn before assuming the appearance of his mother (I think) before transforming into another CGI demon.

This continues for the film's running time and it soon becomes an impenetrable tangle of intensely acted, beautifully directed set-pieces and flashbacks, most of which appear to be designed to force Henrik into believing in the existence in Hell – something he has always previously denied.

The repetition and occasional absurdity of the effects cease to have any real effect after a while, especially as such moments are never really explained. It actually becomes an annoyance that such talent is wasted here – why take the time to perfect these shots and effects if they are just lost in a story that continually makes no sense? The ending sees Henrik conducting a sermon to a full congregation (including his son, with whom it seems relations have at last improved) denouncing religion and his faith as an elitist fiction. The implication is that he has lost his mind, and his faith in religion, but gained the acceptance of his wayward family. Very odd.

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a surprising effort!

Author: SpannersGerm669 from Australia
9 September 2015

Judging by the low score and less than impressive discussions on IMDb, i went into Psalm 21 expecting a disaster, but in the end what i got was the complete opposite! Comparing this to the Scandinavian standard, this Swedish horror film doesn't really keep it company, but on its own ,its a generic horror film idea, mixed in with a soul searching look into the destruction that religion can bring. Brilliant cinematography, along with solid performances in the acting department, make Psalm 21 appear to be a well executed movie. Unfortunately, my biggest problem with the movie was the repetitive horror set pieces, which allows the audience time to desensitize themselves to what is happening, due to the frequency of scares. Having said that, thankfully Psalm 21 saves itself by the thought provoking material, underneath the generic surface!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Starts good but loses track.

Author: AgentSniff from Sweden
2 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Psalm 21 is one of those few Swedish horror films that actually are good. It come into the company of The Cellar, Let the Right One In and Frostbite. Psalm 21 had the potential to become the best of them all but loses track.

The first half is scary as s**t, and has an amazing atmosphere. But it soon loses track. The horror is less in focus and the film as a whole suffers a result. The ending should have been cut out. It's way to into pushing it's message down our throats.

The acting is good, but the special effects are silly at times taking away much of the horror in the second part of the movie.

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