The Substitute (2007) {Vikaren}

Posted: December 16, 2012 in Movie Review


Directed By: Ole Bornedal

Starring: Paprika Steen, Ulrich Thomsen, Jonas Wandschneider, Nikolaj Falkenberg-Klok

Subgenre: Aliens

Synopsis: A 6th grade class in Denmark gets a new substitute teacher, who just happens to be an alien looking for the meaning of love.

Thoughts: It seems I can be a sucker for some pretty basic marketing tactics.  You take a series of movies and put a number on the spine and I pretty much have to buy them all.  You release movies under a banner with an eye catching logo and I’ll at least stop to take a look at what it is.  Such is the case with Ghost House Underground titles with the snazzy looking skull on the cover.

The story of The Substitute is very similar to The Faculty, released in 1998, but the delivery is much different.  For one, there are not a lot of scares to be found.  Right from the beginning, the audience knows what is going on, and it doesn’t take long for the kids to figure it out either.

I find that it can be difficult to judge acting in foreign movies at times, especially if the movie is dubbed, as The Substitute was when I watched it.  However, even with the dubbing, I loved the portrayal of the teacher/alien by Paprika Steen.  Her mannerisms were perfect! I found the kids to be passable, if not annoying at times, but that could just be that kids that age can tend to be annoying anyways.  Director Ole Bornedal, who also directed both the original Nightwatch and the American remake, delivers a pretty solid tale here.  It is slower than most science fiction/horror entries, but it is well done. 

The Substitute is worth a watch, but this isn’t something I will probably ever rewatch.  It was an interesting take on a common subject, but I found it to be a little too slow paced for me.


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