BREAKING SURFACE is a new Scandinavian survival thriller that will have you holding your breath. A Swedish and Norwegian co-production about a winter diving trip that turns into a nightmare. Read our full Breaking Surface movie review here and check it out on VOD!

BREAKING SURFACE is a new survival thriller about a woman trapped at the bottom of the ocean. As with many survival movies, you will get very angry at the main protagonist fighting to save her sister’s life. I will say this though; The first few scenes of Breaking Surface make it very clear that there is bad history and that this woman is at a terrible place in her life.

Still, I did find myself getting extremely angry with her and the (stupid) choices she made. And mostly, that she was too slow at making these choices. However, I can understand how her actions and reactions could be realistic. Especially when having been shown what her life is all about.

Continue reading our full Breaking Surface movie review below.

A different kind of diving survival movie

I know, I know; A woman trapped underwater during a diving expedition? Groundbreaking! And yes, this might sound like a familiar plot. However, this time around there are no sharks. Time is their only real enemy.

You might like: Our review of the Shudder horror movie The Pool here >

They do see orcas at one point, but they’re not dangerous to either of our two main characters. In fact, they almost manage to warn them of the falling rocks that end up trapping one of the sisters at the bottom of the ocean. Also, there is a third character in the form of a dog. A truly awesome dog!

And yes, spoiler alert, the dog survives. Well, that dog survives… and the fact that I have to state this is definitely related to one of my issues with the storyline of this movie. But I won’t get any further into that since it would be a major spoiler.

Breaking Surface – Movie Review

When it rains, it pours…

This is a Swedish and Norwegian co-production with the two sisters being Swedish and the story playing out in Norway. Their mother is Norwegian and they’re visiting her for Christmas. While being there, they go on a winter diving trip (we see them diving as kids as well), but this time everything goes wrong.

And I do mean everything!

It does become quite a bit annoying since you begin anticipating exactly how things can and will go wrong. However, the reason you can spot these things is that you know you’re watching a survival movie. I’ve seen comments from many divers saying that this is actually very realistic.

Also, please note that the professional diver in this story is the one who keeps a cool head. The same cannot be expected of a woman who is going through a terrible time in her life and already feels guilty about everything. By the way, I should mention that I found both actors absolutely amazing in Breaking Surface.

Madeleine Martin (Welcome to Sweden) plays Tuva, the younger sister (and professional diver), who becomes trapped at the bottom of the ocean and has to guide her older sister to help her.

Moa Gammel (Jordskott) plays the older sister Ida who is struggling to keep her marriage intact – and failing. She has no faith in herself or her abilities and wants to give up on everything… except her sister!

Watch Breaking Surface on VOD

Joachim Hedén is the writer and director of Breaking Surface which is his fourth feature film in both capacities. Previously, Joachim Hedén has also worked as a cinematographer. Not on this movie, though I have to admit that both the underwater and above water shots are absolutely gorgeous.

The cinematographer on Breaking Surface was Anna Patarakina who also worked on the zombie horror-drama Zoo (2020). The underwater cinematographer was Eric Börjeson who also worked on the Oscar-nominated Kon-Tiki (2012) and the award-winning New Nordic horror movie Let the Right One In (2008, Låt den rätte komma in) which also has a US remake.

This is the first movie in the thriller department from Joachim Hedén, but it certainly keeps an intense and constant drive needed for the genre. In other words, I really hope this isn’t the last time Hedén makes a genre movie. I could definitely imagine he would make a mean horror movie writer-director. And yes, I do mean this as a huge compliment.

Breaking Surface is out On Demand on December 15, 2020.


Director: Joachim Hedén
Writer: Joachim Hedén
Stars: Moa Gammel, Madeleine Martin, Trine Wiggen


“A few days after Christmas, half-sisters Ida and Tuva set out on a winter dive in a remote part of the Norwegian coastline. Towards the end of the dive, a rockslide traps Tuva under water. As Ida surfaces to call for help, she discovers that the rockslide has struck above water as well, burying their equipment, phones and car keys–they are completely cut off from any chance of outside rescue. As the frantic race for survival unfolds, Ida is put to the ultimate test of character and forcefulness. During Ida’s fight to save Tuva, a fractured sisterhood is exposed, and when all seems lost, the stakes rise beyond simple survival.”

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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