LEAVE on Shudder is a new horror thriller about finding your roots. And, due to the genre, it’s also about finding something awful. This movie plays out mostly in Norway. Don’t worry though, English is spoken throughout. Read our full Leave movie review here!

LEAVE is a new horror thriller on Shudder. A huge mystery in the middle of the plot deals with both religion and a desire to know where you’re from. Obviously, finding your roots is no picnic when the genre is horror and thriller. However, it isn’t all bad either, and it evolves in a very organic way.

In similar and very different ways, we’ve seen this story play out in movies such as Attachment (also on Shudder) and The Creeping. Stories that focus on how family can both save and doom you. Also, yes, this one does have supernatural elements (just as the two mentioned did). Definitely worth checking out for most horror fans.

Continue reading our Leave movie review below. Find the movie on Shudder from March 17, 2023.

A Scandinavian searching for her roots

Hunter White (Alicia von Rittberg) is found abandoned in a cemetery as an infant. She’s wrapped in a blanket with what appears to be Satanic symbols. Also, she’s wearing a necklace that looks like an upside-down crucifix of religious origin.

After a quick DNA test online, Hunter finds out she’s almost entirely Scandinavian. This – paired with a few other clues – takes her to Norway, where most of the story plays out. However, if you’re not a fan of movies that are in a foreign [as in not English] language, you can still watch this.

English is spoken by everyone. Not in the obnoxious way of Domino or The Snowman, where everyone speaks English with a Scandinavian accent. No, it’s simply because most people in Scandinavia can speak English, so if you approach someone and talk to them in English, they will answer in English.

Our main character may be Scandinavian in her DNA, but she grew up in the US, so she only speaks English. Very little Norwegian is spoken, but it’s both translated via subtitles and often spoken as well when someone translates for our main character, Hunter White.

Leave (2022) – Review | Shudder Horror

Intriguing characters and a solid plot

I really don’t want to give away too much of the plot in Leave. Discovering how it’s all connected is what makes this movie so interesting to watch. Well, that and the characters that are all very intriguing. Also, there is something supernatural in the story. A spirit of sorts that seems to be warning Hunter to leave!

And yes, everything will be explained so the ending of Leave on Shudder is a very satisfying one in that sense.

The cast has a few familiar faces if you’ve watched some of the most popular Scandinavian productions in recent years. There’s Herman Tømmeraas from Ragnarok (and Skam) who plays a bit of a jerk, but you can see why. To a point anyway. Also, as someone helping Hunter, you’ll see Ellen Dorrit Petersen of the amazing Thelma (2017) and The Innocents (2021).

In the all-important lead role of Hunter White, it’s Alicia von Rittberg. She isn’t actually from Norway but from Germany. However, she certainly looks very Scandinavian and as she isn’t speaking Norwegian anyway, it makes no difference. Also, Alicia von Rittberg (Fury) delivers a really good performance in Leave.

Watch Leave on Shudder!

Alex Herron is the director of Leave and prior to this horror thriller, he has worked more in the music industry. Still as a director, but working on TV series special On Record. He directed episodes featuring bands such as Blink 182, Green Day, and Deftones. Also, he’s done quite a few music videos for various artists. Winning many awards in the process.

And yes, Alex Herron is from Norway. So is Thomas Moldestad, the screenplay writer. He previously co-wrote the screenplay for one of my favorite Norwegian horror movies Cold Prey / Fritt Vilt (2006) which was his feature film debut as a screenwriter. He wrote that movie with Martin Sundland and director Roar Uthaug (Troll).

With this new movie, Thomas Moldestad manages to create a very engaging story. Very importantly, it isn’t just the main character that is interesting. No, every single character is there for a reason and brings something to the table. Or story, as it were. Either in terms of emotion or to actually move the plot along.

I didn’t expect much from Leave as it sounded like something we might have watched a few times before. However, I was pleasantly surprised and would give this 3½ out of 5 if we did half-ratings here as well.

LEAVE is streaming exclusively on Shudder on March 17, 2023.

Details

Director: Alex Herron
Writer: Thomas Moldestad
Cast: Alicia von Rittberg, Herman Tømmeraas, Stig R. Amdam, Maria Alm Norell

Plot

An abandoned infant is found in a cemetery in the United States. The child is wrapped in a blanket with satanic symbols. A Wolf’s Cross pendant hangs around her neck. 20 years later: Hunter is obsessed with finding out why she was abandoned and who her biological parents are. A genetic test, the blanket and the Wolf’s Cross lead her to Norway. Hunter is closing in on the terrifying truth, but visions of a dark figure warn her: LEAVE!

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