Casper Rudolf Emil Kjeldsen’s DEN aka The Mare is headed to Nightmares Film Festival this year, and it lives up to the festival’s goal for Better Horror.

Set in Kjeldsen’s native Denmark, The Mare mines the depths of early Nordic folklore where fearsome creatures roamed the forests, often in the guise of something far less sinister.

From the official synopsis:

“In the bleak winder landscape of Denmark, two social workers find a young woman alone in the woods. But there is something troubling about her; she doesn’t speak and her eyes fill everyone around her with angst. As her presence starts to creep into everyone around her, they start to second guess whether taking her away from the woods was a good idea.”

The Mare is pure nightmare fuel made up of equally important parts.

Kjeldsen’s storytelling is visually stunning with scenes of the young woman (Alvilda Lyneborg Lassen) and her interactions with the social workers and psychiatrist intercut with scenes of the forest from which they took her. It is as though he’s reminding us, time and time again, that she does not belong in the modern world, and it is wholly effective in enhancing the tension he expertly builds in the audience.

Meanwhile, Lassen herself walks the razor thin line between innocence and menace, rarely responding to those around her while simultaneously seeming to gaze directly into their souls.

And then there is the subject itself. The archetypes created in the oldest stories told around fires on the darkest nights of the year are reflected in The Mare, and prove that they are still all together capable of working their way into our psyche.

And finally, Mads Bittmann’s stunning score provides evocative accompaniment for each unexpected twist and turn as we learn the all too terrifying truth about the girl’s character.

This is one short film you won’t want to miss when you attend this year’s festival!

The Mare will screen in the Midnight Shorts C Block Friday, October 19, 2018 at midnight at Nightmares Film Festival at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, Ohio. For a full schedule of screenings and for ticketing information, click here.

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