A gory comedy-thriller with a high body count, "Head Above Water" is an unevenly acted but OK treat for those not turned off by such black slapstick humor. Pic marks a change of tone for Lapp director Nils Gaup, who made the Oscar-nommed "Pathfinder" (1988), and subsequently the pirate yarn "Shipwrecked" (1990) for Disney.

A gory comedy-thriller with a high body count, “Head Above Water” is an unevenly acted but OK treat for those not turned off by such black slapstick humor. Pic marks a change of tone for Lapp director Nils Gaup, who made the Oscar-nommed “Pathfinder” (1988), and subsequently the pirate yarn “Shipwrecked” (1990) for Disney.

Setting is an island off the Norwegian coast during summer where a couple are vacationing. When husband Einar goes off on a fishing trip with friend Bjorn, wife Lene is visited by former lover Gaute. Gaute gets drunk, undresses, and falls asleep, but when Lene wakes up next morning, he’s dead.

In a panic, Lene hides the body in a potato cellar before her jealous hubby returns. In doing so, however, its neck gets broken. Chain of events grows, with murders, attempted murders and suspicion on all sides.

Gaup mixes horror and laughs, with the former frequently grisly. Nudity is also explicit, with lovely Lene Elise Bergum shedding her garments for the slightest reasons. On the acting side, however, Bergum (a non-pro in her first role) is the weak point in the movie.

Head Above Water

Norwegian

Production

A Filmkameratene production in association with Svensk Filmindustri (Sweden). (International sales: Majestic Films, London.) Produced by John M. Jacobsen. Directed by Nils Gaup.

Crew

Screenplay, Geir Eriksen, Eirik Ildahl. Camera (color), Erling Thurmann-Andersen; editor, Malte Wadman; music, Kjetil Bjerkestrand; production design, Harald Egende-Nissen; sound, in Dolby. Reviewed at Svensk Filmindustri screening room, Stockholm, Aug. 28, 1994. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Lene - Lene Elise Bergum
Einar - Svein Roger Karlsen
Bjorn - Morten Abel
Gaute - Reidar Sorensen
Cop - Jon Skolmen
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