Road Rash Reviews

Leave (Shudder) Review***--

106 mins | 2023

3 star solid but slow burning horror/thriller.

Leave is a 2023 horror film written by Thomas Moldestad (Cold Prey, Escape) and directed by Alex Herron (Dark Windows).

It is a Shudder Original film streaming now exclusively on the Shudder streaming service. Although set predominantly in Norway, it is all presented in English.

“They were troubled souls, both of them. More than they realised.”

Hunter White (Alicia von Rittberg – Resistance, Balloon) is a young girl living in America with her adoptive father Raylan (Clarence Smith – Misbehaviour). In 2002, she was found in Joshua Hill Cemetery, Massachusetts, lying on a grave wrapped in a blanket covered in satanic symbols and wearing a Wolf’s Cross necklace.

Although happy with her adoptive family, she yearns to learn her true origins and has been making investigations. A DNA test reveals that she is almost certainly Scandinavian, and a Norwegian heavy metal band were on tour in her town the night she was found.

Telling her father she is off to Georgetown University, she heads to Norway where a band member, Cecelia Winterberg (Ellen Dorrit Petersen – Thellma, Iskyss) points her in the direction of her birth mother’s family. She meets her Aunt Lillian (Ragnhild Gudbrandsen) and Uncle Olav (Gerald Pettersen) as well as her handsome if a little creepy cousin Stian (Herman Tømmeraas – Ragnarok, Semester). They introduce her to her deeply religious grandfather Torstein Norheim (Stig R. Andam – The Quake) but as she feels she’s getting closer to the truth a dark and strange figure begins to warn her off, telling her to “leave.”

“Anna went crazy when she had the baby. She cried when she realised it was a girl. Talking all kinds of nonsense.”

Leave is an enjoyable film, with a number of issues. The acting is fine and although slow I found it kept my interest right to the end. However, there are a number of plot holes and the start of the film is quite misleading.

The extensive use of satanic symbols implies an element to this film that never really materialises and although the twist is clever, it is not as satisfying as it could have been. It’s an interesting idea that had more potential than it ultimately realised.

“I think we have, inside us, a kind of um, contact? Um, connection, with our past and where we are from, even if we haven’t been there.”

Leave is available to stream now exclusively on Shudder.

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DirectorThomas Moldestad
GenreHorror, thriller
StarringAlicia von Rittberg, Herman Tømmeraas, Stig R. Amdam, Ellen Dorrit Petersen
Category: film, Review, Shudder