Review: ‘I Remember You’ Is a Piercing Horror Film From Iceland




The Icelandic director Oskar Thor Axelsson is clearly fluent in horror conventions. But he has commendable restraint, and his latest film, “I Remember You,” transcends genre pyrotechnics even as it incorporates elements of Nordic noir.

The film - adapted by Mr. Axelsson and Otto Geir Borg from a novel of the same name (subtitled “A Ghost Story” in one edition) by Yrsa Sigurdardottir - tells of the entwining fates of three victims of acute misfortune.

Freyr (Johannes Haukur Johannesson) is a psychiatrist tormented by the memory of his son, who mysteriously vanished years ago in a game of hide-and-seek. Now Freyr is enlisted by the police to interview the husband of an old woman who has killed herself. Working with a detective (Sara Dogg Asgeirsdottir), he uncovers multiple deaths linked to the suicide, all connected by a crime in the distant past.

Grievous loss also afflicts Katrin (Anna Gunndis Gudmundsdottir) and her husband, Gardar (Thorvaldur David Kristjansson), who - with a friend, Lif (Agusta Eva Erlendsdottir) - have started renovating a decrepit house in Iceland´s remote and stunningly stark Westfjords region. As Katrin wrestles with psychological demons, she senses a more supernatural threat.

And then there is Bernodus (Arnar Pall Hardarson), an abused child from long ago whose life, death and afterlife yield grave consequences.

Mr. Axelsson knows his faded photographs, eye-blink spectral visitations and droning soundtracks, plus that standby: the wall covered with newspaper clippings of serial murder. But he minimizes the gore, piercing the soul with mood and compelling conflict. Which makes “I Remember You” memorable indeed.