By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Fantasia Film Festival 2021
Screening Online until end of event (Aug 25, 2021)
Tickets can be purchased here.
Kratt is one of those types of horror comedies that I can see underperforming because not everyone is familiar with Estonian folklore. Technically, there is no creature to fear. Instead, it’s what the kids fear as they spend a summer without technology, and at grandmother’s house! They can’t run away, but find friends to play with.
Writer/director Rasmus Merivoo crafted a wickedly funny fable which considers what tweens can do when left on their own. They’ll have to create their own entertainment and after making local friends, they find a spell book and make a golem. However, unlike the traditional Jewish servant of lore, who is inherently neutral, answering to their master’s commands, the Kratt will deviate when no further work is asked of it. It’ll turn on their master and kill.
Mia (Nora Merivoo) and Kevin (Harri Merivoo) get in over their heads when the fun part of the film begins. They can’t call their parents because they don’t have their smartphones (it was taken away). Neither can grandma Helju (Mari Lill) help, because she’s all old school and gets them to help clean up around the house. They don’t like it and decide to build a robot made of farm tools. Three drops of blood will give it life. The kids are squeamish at this requirement and abandon the golem. Well, that’s until grandma finds this mechanical abomination and it falls on her.
The story is somewhat like Weekend at Bernie‘s and the scenes with zombie grandma are downright hilarious. Merivoo has a tale which takes pointed stabs at family life, but I think the best bit comes from how the kids realize that they have to restore grandma. I’m sure what I’m hearing is not “I’m not dead,” but it’s phonetically similar. In the subtitles, translation, the possessed person is saying, “Give me work.”
There’s a subplot concerning a politician which goes nowhere in between this mess. When the kids finally get a priest to reverse the curse, there is a plot. As for grandma’s fate, to say anymore will ruin the entirety of this film.
4 Stars out of 5