Norway makes the best monster movies. From the Nazi zombies of Dead Snow to the Christian blood sniffing beasts of Trollhunter, when it comes to big bads, Norway is the only country churning out anything new. And to that pile of supernatural bad-assery we would like to add the new movie Thale. Spoilers ahead...
Directed by Aleksander Nordaas, Thale tells the brief story of two men from a clean up crew who stumble upon a domesticated Thale. A strange creature, the Thale can either look like a beautiful woman with a cow tail (when kept under strict human domestication) or a wild hairy beast with a bloodlust for the evil at heart. The particular creature in question has been living in secrecy with her caretaker for years, but now the old man has died and two new men have to deal with the unexpected beauty.
What truly works about Nordaas creation is the blending for magic and science fiction. On the one hand, you have a gorgeous woman with magical powers and an amazing appendage. On the other, she takes creepy milk baths to keep her hidden from her flock. And there are monitoring gadgets and gizmos, plus a creepy locked mini fridge to keep the leftover sacks of cow tails that have been painfully lobbed off by her creator for years. The message is obvious: it's we who are the real beasts, with our cruel curiosity and unjust need to bend wild things to our wills.
But thankfully not all of the menfolk are evil little boys like the pack of scientists that show up E.T. style towards the end. The core characters, even the little Thale herself, are good people just stuck in a magical world, hoping to straighten it out with science.
Thale's biggest problem is wasted time. A baffling amount of footage is wasted showcasing repetitive, nonsensical medical illustrations. One particularly odd shot of one of the cleaning-crew guys vomiting over and over again takes up almost all of the movie's introductory scenes. With no real character build-up either. We get it — one guy in the cleaning crew is cool, and the other isn't. Point noted, no need to drag copious vomit shots into the mix. It's fairly annoying, because the movie itself is only 76 minutes. So why pad it out with unnecessary shots? If anything, this movie would work even better if some of the fat was trimmed. But all in all, a minor complaint.
Overall, Thale is a quick movie with a monster you've never seen before. Woodland creatures such as the Thales might be common in Norway, but this was my first dance with the naked furry ladies. And I would happily do it again.