Clearly thanks to its "breakout" status in Kim Newman's Video Dungeon in the current issue of Empire , the quietly wonderful Norwegian fantasy Thale has just earned itself a sequel. Original writer/director Aleksander Nordaas remains at the helm for more folkloric Scandinavian scares.
The original film concerns the titular forest sprite (tah-lay), who is one of the Huldra: siren-like creatures from Nordic myth. The Huldras' general modus operandi is to lure men to their deaths by sitting naked under waterfalls, but Thale has been captured for study by a well-meaning human guardian and imprisoned for some years. Upon his death, however, she's discovered by the crime-scene cleaners who come to scrub her cabin-in-the-woods, and her emergence from captivity attracts dangerous attention.
The wordless Thale was affectingly played by Silje Reinåmo (Empire spoke to Silje at the Night Visions festival in Helsinki last autumn) but it's unclear at this stage whether she'll be back for the follow-up. We could, for example, be looking at a different Huldra story, rather than a return to the same characters.
What we do know is that the new film will have a larger budget than its low-key indie predecessor. It will also be English-language with a view to reaching a wider audience: despite its quality and a decent festival life, Thale to all intents and purposes went straight to DVD in most territories, including the UK. The LA-based Epic Pictures group is shouldering the production this time, having caught Thale at SXSW.