A horror film bathing in Finnish sauna culture, Sauna explores the space between Christianity and paganism. The Year 1595 – a long and brutal war is finally over. Brothers Knut and Erik – who are part of a commission marking the border between Finland and Russia – commit a terrible sin as they leave a young girl to die a horrible death. As the commission crosses the uncharted swamp the girl returns to haunt them. Weary men find solace from the nameless village and find a sauna – the sauna where all sins are washed away. Seeking forgiveness the brothers step in. –IFC Films
I love the way this film combines psychological and social hell. Every country was built with dirt and blood and Sauna holds our head underneath the swampwater of this fact. Still, I couldn’t help but be disappointed on a gut level by the ending—even though the more I think about it, the more I think it was the thought-provoking choice. I just really wanted to see what made that dog scratch its eyes out.
The movie was wonderful, the cinematographic experience is unforgettable, the atmosphere leaves such a melancholic feeling in your chest. Personally, I love horror movies that have a distinct poetic sub-tone with a hint of homo homini lupus est :P However, the only remark I have is that the movie was far too short for my taste (only 1h 19min), but on the other hand, maybe prolonging the plot would be kitsch...
Still one of the most gorgeous and innovative genre films to surface in years. Everything - from the large, sparse locations to the excruciatingly detailed costumes and maps - is perfect. Technically the image is crystal clear, but from the story the film has a grittiness that feels like hundreds of years of filthy history has wiped itself against the lens. "Sauna" is a beautiful and subversive experience.