Border [Gräns] (2018) review

From the writer of ‘Let the Right One In’ (John Ajvide Lindqvist), and director of horror festival favourite, ‘Shelley’ (Ali Abbassi), ‘Border’ is a Swedish-Danish comment on outsiders of society and the importance of being yourself.

The protagonist, Tina (Eva Melander) is an ugly and frumpy customs officer on the coast of a Swedish city. Using her abnormally strong sense of smell she sniffs passers-by as they avoid detection. Correctly picking out drugs smugglers and eventually sniffing out a paedophile, her sense of smell is revealed to be able to detect people’s feelings and intentions.

Many other reviews have revealed a bit too much about this movie. I wouldn’t even look at the clips or trailer to the movie. Until it arrives at a film festival near you, I would avoid spoilers and let the film reveal itself on your initial screening of it.

The story treads a very fine line between having absurd and surreal characters mixed with a very intense and dark drama – imagine ‘The Greasy Strangler’ retold as an acerbic and chilling Scandinavian TV drama.

The special effects make-up on the lead performer are absolutely incredible, carrying off a look that seems folklorish whilst keeping her human enough. Barely.

Tina conforms to a society that constantly mocks and belittles her. The strong theme of being prejudiced against for your differences flows throughout the movie. Even through her grotesque appearance, the films does a very good job of making her relatable throughout.

I have to say I found this film to be nothing other than being utterly hilarious from start to finish. I have a very dark sense of humour and often get side-eyed laughing at the most inappropriate of things on screen. I want to enjoy this film again with light hearted horror audience, and not the stuffy Cannes audience I sat in last time.

The way Tina swine-like sniffs at objects whilst on the job, to the way the camera fixates on her constant mouth-breathing expression provides a lot of entertainment value.

The film ended with the biggest standing ovation for any film I’ve ever seen at Cannes. A very well deserved one, indeed.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ★ ★ 

Border (Gräns) new clip official from Cannes:


Sam Casserly

After escaping his host and coming alive in the era of Video Nasties, Cannibal Casserly consumed all the terror he could get his stumpy little hands on. On the verge of releasing his first low budget horror feature, he lurks in the shadows to avoid the pitchforks of witch burning villagers. This misunderstood monster just wants to be your friend.

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1 Comment

  • […] absolute top contender for film of the festival, the winner of the Love HorR’Or, is Border (aka ‘Gräns’). Although I have to admit it’s not in competition and I’ve only seen a fraction of the films at […]

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