‘Severed Ways’: Headbangers of 1007 CE

"Severed Was" poster imageA movie made by a company called Heathen Films is likely to have a certain ideological component. Severed Ways, a 2007 indie production, however, has not become a cult favorite like The Wicker Man.

The plot comes right from the Vinland Sagas, but adds a bit about two scouts abandoned and believed dead when Norse settlers abandon one settlement after conflicts with the natives.

The dialog is in Swedish with colloquial English subtitles, like “We’re toast if the Skraelings find us.”

But in accordance with a Scandinavian tradition of filmmaking, there are long silent periods where the camera merely follow the men on their journey seeking their comrades.

One Internet Movie Database comment calls it “Aguirre, the Wrath of God for Black Metal fans.” That is not necessarily a compliment, but director Tony Stone would disagree:

Heavy metal and vikings have always had this sort of connection—the warrior spirit, the harshness, the visuals of battle, the pagan side. The music is hard and rough and trying at times, but that’s what the physical world is; that’s how we used to live. Metal describes something of another time. It’s a very emotional music that’s more like classical music in the way it recalls history. It’s also just music we were listening to while making the movie.

As an expression of “Dionysian pessimism” (Nietzsche’s term), it works.

It was filmed in Maine, Vermont, Labrador, and at the reconstructed Norse camp of L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

M.’s short review: “Beautiful landscapes interrupted by bashing.”

Bryan White at Cinema Suicide says much the same thing at greater length.

4 thoughts on “‘Severed Ways’: Headbangers of 1007 CE

  1. Mira

    This is NOT NOT NOT Scandinavian!

    Metal and Norse culture is a monstrous pairing – as incompatible as a round plug in a square hole.

    This is ugly. And, nothing but. May their teeth fall out and their dicks rot.

  2. Absolutely true, Mira. We know that no heavy metal music is ever played in any of the Scandinavian countries!

    Which “they” do you reference in your little curse? The actors? The crew? Male employees of Parks Canada for letting them film at L’Anse aux Meadows?

  3. Mira

    No. The FILM – it’s a FILM, no? Look at the cast list, the production list, the what’s-it list – apart from some groups appearing on the sound track there is not one Scandinavian to be seen anywhere.

    Yeah, and, no matter what a bunch of blotchy clue- and rootless fjolsete fjotter from the fjords think, or yourself, for that matter – the Metal and Norse culture combo is a fricking monstrosity.

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