Rated: NR

Running Time: 93 Minutes

Year: 2008

Nudity: None

One Sentence: The scariest movie at Fantastic Fest.

For a genre film festival the amount of scary movies I have sen at this fest has been very little.  Movies that were meant to be scary were not, and others that I thought were going to be horror did not really end up being horror at all.  This movie Sauna however, was scary, and quite good as well.  Sauna was an unexpected surprise and I am happy I saw it. 

Sauna takes place in the 1500's after the Russian/Sweedish war, where a group is out on the borderlands drawing the lines between the countries.  The film was shot for 1 million dollars and feels like they had all the money in the world.  It has great cinematagrophy, and uses silence and the shots to tell the story over dialog.  

The film deals with sins, and retrubition and while it has very little blood or killing, is a chilling scary movie that draws you in and makes you fell the fear that is on screen.  It is real, strong and disturbing.  It is rare that a movie will cause this level of fear in me and Sauna did it well.  Sadly this is a Finnish film and most likely will be hard to find in the US, but I would keep an eye out if you are looking for a scary movie that doesn't involve monsters, legends, gore or all that hollywood type horror.  

4 Stars 

  • Perrah

    I saw this movie last night at Gothenburg Film Festvial ( and I can agree with reviewer that this is a scary movie. But not scary with gore and such, but the creeping feeling that something is wrong and it’s about to hit you soon.

    I had not seen any trailer for it, I saw in the Gothenburg Film Festival movie catalog and got cought directly. I had no idea what to expect and I was blown away.

    All in all “Sauna” is a great movie, highly recommended if you want a horror flick without gore and stupid monsters.

  • jerry

    Just saw this movie with two other people, both being directors of award films. None of us understood it.

    • Anonymous

      what films


    I just watched this film on OnDemand. One word: HAUNTING!!! What a beautifully shot film. I, too, cannot believe that this amazing film was only shot with a 1 million dollar budget. The cinematography was superb with its’ muted/monochromatic palette. The pops of color, i.e.: the red/blood in the river in the beginning and end added to the films’ brilliance. This is definitely a movie I will watch twice as there were many questions that came up for me. I wish the movie was a bit longer because I feel as though there were many opportunities for more development of the plot and its’ characters. I loved the symbolism used to demonstrate the empty pit of regret…i.e.: the black, faceless person at the end. This is not a film for the average horror film buff…you have to use your mind, intelligence, and creativity.

  • Izak

    This was a good fil but i din’t get the plot at all. (SPOILER ALERT)Like what was the meaning of the faceless monster at the end and why did he kill the young boy. What was his sin (the boys)and what happened to the lead character in the Sauna, why did his brother kill him?

  • nrm

    i also just watched the film, and i agree with your theories. But here is some questions i just can’t solve myself :(SPOILER ALERT) Why did the man in the shelter die ( the shelter with the statue, and the paintings of a black creature)why did, the man with the tooth put it in the brothers mouth, and die afterswords, why did the dog and the old man scrath there eyes out, why did the girl bleed out of here mouth and what was the deal with the black fluid draining out of the “creatures” head, the girls head in the start of the movie, and the brothers hand at the movies ending??
    a lot of questions ! 😀

  • Jack

    Is there not a chance that the black being forced to pour out of the elder brother’s eyes was not blood but in actuallity his sins?
    That the action of his brother was the relieving of said sins?

    Did those individuals who tore out their eyes do so because they refused to be relieved of their sins?

    I’m curious as to why the black faced entity (the older brother?) whispers “My beloved” at the end.
    Did one of the two brother return to the pit and both rape and murder the girl or did she simply starve in the pit?

  • Throst

    I think the girl didn’t starve, because the soldier who wrote with his own blood, wrote something about being in a cellar with enough food and drink, but with the feeling that there is somebody with him in the cellar.
    So it appears to me that these things the soldier told them in his letter reflects the situation of the girl, because the cellar was the place where they kept their supplies.
    What I thougt was confusing, was that Erik’s number of victim changed from 73 to 75. They said that the girl in the cellar would be number 74 if she died, but who is number 75, is it the little girl/boy????

  • E

    Isn’t number 75 Knut, Erick brother?

  • peen

    74 & 75 would be the girl and her father, the killing of whom was what prompted knut to lock the girl in the cellar, as he said himself to protect her from erik.

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