The Reel Review
Residents of the tiny, picturesque Icelandic village of Vik face a mystery as humans, some who had previously died and others who had just departed from Iceland 20 years ago, start emerging from the ash fallout of a year long eruption of the nearby Katla subglacial volcano. This Nordic supernatural sci-fi/mystery series is on Netflix.
Rooted in Icelandic changeling folklore, Katla features some impressive cinematography, clever camerawork and an intricate, interesting story. Producer/director Baltasar Kormákur (Adrift, Everest) progresses the plot at a slow, methodical pace typically associated with Nordic series. For those with the patience, the payoff is worth it. It’s some pretty fascinating, heady concepts set to the gorgeous, otherworldly Icelandic landscape.
The ensemble cast is excellent and there are enough subplots associated with the mysterious arrivals of the ash versions of its characters to be thought provoking. The scientific explanation for the mysterious occurrence towards the finale feels like a bit of an unnecessary throwaway, but otherwise, the eight episode series is really well done and very intriguing.
• Filming for Katla started just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Nordic countries, resuming after a months long pause under stringent testing and precautions at remote RVK Studios, which at 45,200 square feet, is one of the largest in Europe.
• Gudrún Yr Eyfjörd, also known as the Icelandic award-winning musician GDRN, performs her song “Læter Mig” above.
• A changeling, in European folklore, is the offspring of fairies or elves surreptitiously substituted for human babies, and sometimes even adults.