To Freddy (2021)

Director: Viljar Bøe

Running Time: 72 Minutes

Starring: Nicolai Narvesen Lied, Viljar Bøe, Simen Stensheim Jørgensen, Nicholas Vedi, Peter Emong

Before going their own ways into adulthood, a group of friends go on a camping trip for one last hurrah. Stocked up on alcohol and junk food, they're all ready to celebrate. Prior to that, Freddy (Nicolai Narvesen Lied) takes a walk with his closest friend Viljar (Viljar Bøe), where they find a plastic box addressed to Freddy. Inside are letters marked with dates and times, the first of which says that Freddy will be dead by the end of the camping trip.

If you were given the knowledge of your own murder, what lengths would you take to stop it? That's the dilemma faced at the heart of this story, as Freddy cannot get the horrifying prediction out of his head. Any hopes to enjoy the last get-together as a group are dashed, when Freddy becomes wrapped up in the messages. Nicolai Narvesen Lied does excellent work capturing the titular character who goes from a source of fun to somebody unrecognisable, as he stews in the misery of what's been predicted.

Offering able support is Viljar, who acts as Freddy's confidant regarding the mysterious notes. You can feel the closeness between these friends as he tries to lighten the load off Freddy's mind and bring him back to reality, which highlights how the other members of the group could've used more development. Viljar Bøe does good work in the role of his namesake, while also making a tremendous debut as writer and director. Bøe crafts a tense thriller out of an ingenious scenario, as the question lingers whether the notes are predicting something avoidable, or a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is a strong example of DIY filmmaking, and how independent cinema can deliver something so tense and tragic.