De Dødes Tjern (Lake of the Dead, 1958) is considered a Norwegian classic. Not to be too technical, but tjern translates into pond not lake. Anyway, this is by far one of the best norwegian movies I’ve ever seen. I had to watch it at least 3 times in order to get it, but it was really well done.

A group of friends are going on a cabin trip in the woods. It opens with Bernhard Borg (Henki Kolstad) writing a crime novel and discusses it with his wife, Sonja (Bjørg Engh).  The rest of the movie is seen as a flashback. We meet the rest of the gang on the train. There’s Lillian (Henny Moan) and her boyfriend, Gran (Georg Richter). Then there’s also writer Mørk (Andre Bjerke), and the psychologist Bugge (Erling Lindahl).

Lillian is afraid for her twin brother Bjørn (Per Lillo-Stenberg) When she last saw him, he acted weird. She got a bad feeling one day and broke a teapot. Turns out Bjørn was in a car accident at that time. She hasn’t heard from him since he left for the cabin that they’re going to. I assume when she says that Bjørn is in danger, she means he is suicidal. She mentions something about the pond by the cabin.

At the cabin, they are met by another person who works for the police. He tells them a ghost story about the pond. Later, Bernhard finds a diary written by Bjørn. He has written down his dreams which involve a ghost with a wooden leg chasing him by the pond. They all go down to the pond and Lillian experiences deja vu and gets scared.

Strange things happen and throughout the movie they discuss what could possibly be going on. Lillian starts walking in her sleep and starts talking to the psychologist. Bernhard sees him hypnotizing her and confronts him about it, thinking he is the reason for the strange happenings.

This next paragraph is going to spoil the ending. Gran is found dead in the pond. We find out that Bjørn is hiding in the woods. He is passionately in love with his own sister, according to the psychologist. He has killed Gran because if he can’t have her, then nobody can. He tries to kill Lillian as well.

This film is heavily influenced by the psychological ideas of Sigmund Freud. I liked the sort of open ending, which showed that there could have been other explanations as well.

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