GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Tistlebu (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Tistlebu (2022): Shot at the folk hotel Nordigard Blessom in Vågå, which is near the Jutulporten “The Troll Gate,” Tistlebu is all about a young urban couple who decides that a working vacation at the Tistlebu farm will help them better connect with nature. Well…nature really becomes connected to them.

A dark and moody folk horror film, Tistlebu could easily have been two hours longer and I would have stick with every moment. Director Simon M. Valentine, who also wrote the script with Alexander Delver, has crafted something unreal in all the very best of ways here.

In the folk tale of the Jutulen and Johannes Blessom, Johannes is told not to look back as the gate opens to the world of fantasy.He refuses to listen, turns and his neck is always crooked for the rest of his life. Perhaps the young couple in this, Sanna (Sacha Slengesol Balgobin) and Karl (Sjur Vatne Brean) should have just stayed unawares in the city, far from where the rules of reality no longer apply.

Tistlebu is a gorgeous film with images that will stick with me for some time.

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