Kratt

September 8, 2021

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It has bags of imagination and the central performance by Lill, who goes from sweet-natured to malevolent being, is scarily convincing.
kratt1

Kratt

John Noonan
Year: 2020
Rating: MA
Director: Rasmus Merivoo
Cast:

Mari Lill, Nora Merivoo, Harri Merivoo

Format:
Released: September 9, 2021
Running Time: 107 minutes
Worth: $12.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

It has bags of imagination and the central performance by Lill, who goes from sweet-natured to malevolent being, is scarily convincing.

For those not up to date with their Estonian mythology, a Kratt is a creature formed of household implements which, with just a little help from the Devil, can be used to complete a bunch of jobs for its master. However, run out of work for the Kratt and it will turn dangerous, if not murderous. Sounds like a ritual children should definitely not get involved in, you say? Yeah, about that…

Directed by Rasmus Merivoo, Kratt tells the tale of siblings Mia (Nora Merivoo) and Kevin (Harri Merivoo), who are packed off to the Estonian countryside for the summer to live with their Grandma (Mari Lill). Although Grandma is a kind old soul, the children soon tire of their rural life and seek excitement elsewhere. With the help of a couple of local kids, Juuli (Elise Tekko) and August (Roland Teima), they stumble on an ancient text that will teach them how to build their own Kratt. Huzzah?

One pact with the Devil and an unfortunate accident with a scythe later, poor old Granny ends up being the carrier for the spirit of the Kratt. Despite their faux pas, the kids think this is great and soon get to work, giving the widow all the tasks they can’t be bothered doing. Things soon turn foul when they are unable to keep up with her demands for jobs.

There’s a lot going for Kratt, which hit all the right notes. It has bags of imagination and the central performance by Lill, who goes from sweet-natured to malevolent being, is scarily convincing. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, the narrative becomes derailed as Merivoo tries to pack in so much to the detriment of his central narrative.

Ostensibly, Kratt is a family orientated horror film – and has been touted as such elsewhere – containing the same kind of mild scares one would get from a Lemony Snicket or Roald Dahl book. However, despite the film overrunning with precocious tweens, it does well to be aware of the jarring tone shift throughout. One minute Grandma is lighting her farts to travel long distances, and the next, she’s graphically mincing up people to turn them into pizza. You can break your neck trying to keep up.

Strangely, Merivoo also uses his film to take stabs at politics and social media. A quartet of politicians make up Kratt’s B-plot, implying corruption in the village. It’s also highly implied that the pollies have always been here in a Stephen King’s Shining kind of way. As one of the quartet realises his fate, he breaks the fourth wall, pleading to the audience that he hopes that he doesn’t come around again when he eventually dies.

Elsewhere, religion gets a paddling, as a hero priest is shown to be against what he sees as ‘gay propaganda’, and a moment involving the American government appears to be a dig at the US being the self-proclaimed saviours in their own movies.

All interesting plots in their own ways, but it does leave the audience asking what any of it has to do with the adventures of Juuli and Kevin. The answer is very little, which is a big problem. At just over an hour and forty, Kratt feels as overstuffed as one of Granny’s pizzas. And, while it could be argued that this is a giant satire of family movies in general, fingers immediately point to the recent Psycho Goreman as an example of how to do it successfully.

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