Title: Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens (2022) Director: Martin Sofiedal Writer: Emanuel Nordrum Stars: Axel Bøyum, Fredrik Skogsrud, André Sørum, Eirik Hallert, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rune Temte
There is a place, deep in the Norwegian wilderness, where bizarre and unexplained lights can be seen flying across the night skies. In this deep valley, in these deep woods, mysteries abound, and the locals have seen strange people coming and going, drawn to the lights like moths to a flame. Where these lights come from, no one knows. Some believe they are travelers from outer space, aliens on some sinister errand.
It’s all a bit silly, really.
Blasted – Gutta vs.Aliens (“gutta” means “the guys” in Norwegian) is not only the newest but also the first-ever Norwegian UFO film. The place I described in the beginning, although with a bit of a flourish, is called Hessdalen. If you’re interested in UFO myths, you might have heard of it. It is a kind of “Scandinavian Roswell,” only without all the military bases and conspiracy theories. The place draws UFO researchers and nerdy tourists from all over the world. Why it has taken this long for someone to make a movie based on the phenomenon is anyone’s guess, but it is here now, and it is completely bonkers.
In Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens, which also got the colorful tagline “Bros Before UFOs,” we follow friends Sebastian (played by Axel Bøyum), Mikkel (played by Fredrik Skogsrud), Pelle (played by Eirik Hallert) and Audun (played by Mathias Luppichini) on their trip to Hessdalen. In an attempt to impress a client from work, Sebastian also brought along rich investor Kasper (played by André Sørum) in his fancy car, Cock Rocket! What is supposed to be a bachelor party for Sebastian soon becomes a struggle for survival as aliens take over and possess more and more of the residents of the small valley.
Where most other filmmakers would go about making a serious X-Files-y thriller, director Martin Sofiedal got the bright idea of telling the story of a group of friends at a weekend bachelor party where they have to fight aliens with laser tag guns and paintball rifles. Where other directors would invoke Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Martin Sofiedal drew inspiration from, among others, Edgard Wright’s The World’s End and Shaun of the Dead. Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens is, first and foremost, a comedy about camaraderie and laser tag. It just happens to have aliens in it.
Blasted – Gutta vs.Aliens also seems to draw much of its inspiration from American science fiction cult films from the 80s and 90s, shamelessly ripping off many of the tropes we know and love: alien body-snatching, big monsters, creepy caves, underground bases and evil agendas! On the surface, it might not seem very original; one could almost cobble the action together from other films of the genre. And even though some of these tropes seem like they’re lifted off a checklist named “how to make an alien invasion film,” Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens isn’t meant to break new ground. Like Edgar Wright and his Cornetto trilogy, director Martin Sofiedal has created a homage to the kinds of films he loves and combined it with an activity he grew up with (laser tag), and that passion is clear to see in every scene! And setting it in Norway’s Hessdalen, with its amazing nature and ongoing UFO mystery, is a great idea. Why didn’t anyone think about this earlier?
In fact, many did, but no one got to this point. Even I did back when I worked in film production. I actually worked on a script for a UFO mystery thriller based on the “Hessdalen Lights.” It would be dark and emotional; a daughter’s search for her father, who aliens abducted after a car accident. It had dark, abandoned hospital corridors and a wintery road leading to the central mystery in that isolated valley. What it did not have was humor, something Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens has in spades. Note to self: “Add more humor in the scripts I write.”
More than anything, the humor in Blasted – Gutta vs.Aliens is what carries us through its almost two-hour runtime. Without that humor, charm and chemistry between the leading cast, it would fall flat. But that humor and charm touch everything in this film, and by doing that, it makes it work. It’s tight, and it’s witty, but I would not be surprised if some of the gags and one-liners are lost in translation if you’re not familiar with the language or you’re watching it dubbed.
A first of its kind coming from Norway, Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens is a hell of a good time. Even if it has one or two serious scenes, the film doesn’t take itself seriously at all. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Remember to bring popcorn, drinks and good friends. The more the better!
Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens premiers on Netflix on the 28th of June.
Be sure to check out my interview with the film’s director, Martin Sofiedal.