Norway is known for its fjords and mountains, the Northern lights, skiing, and black metal. Though Norwegians haven’t produced a lot of horror movies, the country has given us a few underrated gems. There’s the Cold Prey and Dead Snow series, Trollhunter, and death metal thriller, Lords of Chaos. Now Netflix is marking Friday the 13th with a new Norwegian horror anthology series – Bloodride. It’s a quickie season at just six episodes that clock in around 30 minutes. Like a cross between The Twilight Zone and an old Amicus Productions’ movie, Bloodride promises twisted morality tales. So let’s take a deep dive into the first episode, Ultimate Sacrifice.
[Warning: Episode Spoilers Below]
Ultimate Sacrifice Takes Us To The Countryside
Like any anthology series, Bloodride starts with its wraparound segment. Tales from the Crypt had five strangers touring a mausoleum before the mysterious Crypt Keeper revealed their futures. And Bloodride begins with a creepy bus driver inspecting an empty bus. But when he adjust his rearview mirror, we see rows of passengers. As the camera pans over the lost-looking souls, it lingers on a woman whose hands are covered in blood – the subject of Ultimate Sacrifice. Things then cut to a sunny day where a man briskly walks to a job interview with a CEO named Hartmann.
Molly, our blood-soaked bus passenger, is clearly unhappy.
Cue to five years earlier and the Hartmann family – Leon, his daughter Katja, wife Molly, and family dog, Bolt – arrive at their new country home in the small village of Horgan. Molly, our blood-soaked bus passenger, is clearly unhappy. After a terse argument with Leon, we learn that Molly put the family in financial straits, thus necessitating the lifestyle ‘downgrade’. But nosy neighbours, the Kloppens, interrupt the domestic. Though they seem kind and offer to help fix up the house, Molly is creeped out, particularly with Mrs Kloppen’s black cat.
Never Trust Someone Who Hates Animals
On the next day, the Kloppen’s show up with what looks like all of Horgan. As Molly just pouts and watches, she’s again struck by the strangely close relationship all her neighbours share with their pets. Horgan’s residents also seem pretty spendthrift – they laugh it off when Leon seems surprised they’re barbecuing Kobe beef. Later during her morning run, Molly’s suspicions about the town’s residents are confirmed. She spies Mrs Kloppen and another neighbour stabbing her black cat to death on a flat rock in the woods. Deciding that Molly is now one of them, Mrs Kloppen tells her that Horgan was built over the remains of an old Viking village. Centuries ago the Vikings sacrificed animals, and the occasional loved one, for good luck. But she warns Molly that the sacrifices come at a cost.
No love, no sacrifice, and no good luck.
Hearing everything but the warning, Molly sees a way out of Horgan. First, she catches and kills a rat on the rock. After winning a measly amount on a scratch ticket, Mrs Kloppen stresses that the reward is tied to the stakes – there must be a bond to the sacrifice. Next, Molly kills family dog, Bolt, and almost nets a big lottery win. Almost. As it turns out, Molly wasn’t a big fan of Bolt. Never trust someone who doesn’t like animals. No love, no sacrifice, and no good luck.
Ultimate Sacrifice Packs a Twist That Subverts Expectations
Now truly understanding the nature of sacrifice, a crazed Molly leads husband Leon out to the rock. In Ultimate Sacrifice’s climatic finale, the scene cuts back and forth between the sacrificial rock and our job interviewee five years down the road. Molly stabs poor Leon, but daughter Katja interrupts. Back at the job interview, an assistant suggests that the interviewee not ask the CEO how she earned her first million. Flashback to the rock and, as mother and daughter struggle, it looks like Molly will strangle Katja to death.
However, not all is as it appears. Surprise, surprise … when the CEO’s chair spins at our present-day job interview, it’s not Molly sitting in it. No, it’s daughter, Katja. During their struggle five years earlier, Katja smashes her mother’s skull with a rock. Still Ultimate Sacrifice has one last twist. As CEO Katja Hartmann strokes a cat sitting in her lap, we learn that she suffered not one, but, two tragedies. The death of her mother, and her father’s mysterious disappearance.
Ultimate Sacrifice Promises a Fun Ride for Bloodride Series
Though it’s just one episode, Ultimate Sacrifice does more than enough to earn a binge-watch for Bloodride. No, Bloodride doesn’t do anything new with the anthology premise. As mentioned above, this Norwegian chiller takes the best of Twilight Zone and old British anthology horror movies. But it’s a good mix. Like those classics, Bloodride is focused on morality storytelling with a darkly twisted sense of humour. And it’s that morbid humour that drives the episodes along with a healthy dose of suspense.