Fantasia Festival presents Kratt, book tickets here.
Deep in the pages of Estonian legend, you will find a creature named Kratt, a mythical beast subservient to the person who creates it out of household items and three drops of blood. The Kratt seeks nothing but work, demanding its master’s attention as it comes to life. However, once the work drys up, the Kratt has no option but to seek its own entertainment, kill its master, and find another.
But what is more deadly than a Kratt brought to life by a wicked adult? The answer is a Kratt being brought to life by two children (Nora and Harri Merivoo), who are bored during their summer vacation. But even worse, the Kratt in question is housed in the body of the children’s sweet and innocent grandmother (Mari Lill) after an accident reciting the spell. And so begins Rasmus Merivoo’s delightfully bonkers and bold fantasy horror.
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Merivoo mixes classic B-Movie horror with a fascinating if slightly erratic discussion on artificial intelligence and tech in a horror fantasy that is bathed in creativity. Here his story of subservience, tech and community politics is wrapped in a bow of dark comedy as the fairytale, horror and fantasy worlds are gloriously mashed into a unique concoction. Kratt’s comedy often verges on the Monty Pythonesque, from a local priest who uses drones to track the elderly to a politician slowly falling into insanity as he attempts to compete with Facebook for attention.
For some, this darkly delicious humour may leave them cold; however, for me, Kratt’s satire is not only bonkers but very nearly brilliant in construct. It is, therefore, a pity that Kratt’s core messages on tech and A.I. never quite find their voice in the chaos that ensues. Here Merivoo attempts to link the mythology of the Kratt with our current social debates on tech and artificial intelligence – the horror of the Kratt, a metaphor for the machines in our pockets. However, apart from some genuinely brilliant and creative glimpses, the overarching dissection of our tech-driven world often feels lost in an ocean of competing ideas.
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Ultimately, whether you love or loathe Kratt will depend on your expectations before the film; for example, those expecting a light horror-comedy or monster gorefest are bound to be slightly disappointed. However, for those, like me, who are looking for something different, creative and bold, Kratt is a stroke of genius and a cult horror in the making.