🇳🇴 POST MORTEM: NO ONE DIES IN SKARNES 🇳🇴
Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes (2021-) is a Norwegian Netflix Original series. It has 6 x 43-47 min episodes. Norwegian with subtitles and available dubbed. 15 Cert U.K.
A woman contemplates sacrificing human lives to help her family’s funeral home business stay afloat while dealing with her insatiable hunger.
Kathrine Thorborg Johansen as Live
Elias Holmen Sørensen as Odd
André Sørum as Reinert
Kim Fairchild as Judith
Sara Khorami as Rose
Øystein Røger as Dr. Sverre
Kristin Jess Rodin as Madeleine
Maria Grazie Di Meo as Alex
Bernhard Arnø as Frode
Marianne Jonger as Marianne
Martin Karelius Østensen as Jettland
Marit Opsahl Grefberg as Mrs Gundersen
The Gundersen Twins: Christian Skolmen
Directors: Harald Zwart & Petter Holmsen
Writers: Petter Holmsen, Sofia Lersol Lund & Øyvind Rune Stålen
Cinematographer: Jon Gaute Espevold
Costume: Uma Feed
Special Effects: Pål Morten Hverven, Alexander Søren & Jim Udenberg (make-up: physical effects)
Stunts Coordinator: Christel Jørgensen
Music Supervisor: Silje Katralen
The series is filmed in Skarnes, Norway.
Harald Swart is a Dutch director, producer and writer who directed the films The 12th Man, The Karate Kid (2000), Agent Cody Banks, Hamilton (2001) and was Executive Producer on Cadaver (2020), Amundsen (2019), The 12th Man and Kon-Tiki.
Having been looking forward to the arrival of Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes ever since it was first announced and then having watched the trailer, I dived eagerly into this new Norwegian series.
Post Mortem opens in classic murder-mystery style with a dead body found in fields near a forest on the outskirts of the Norwegian town of Skarnes. We are introduced to police officer Judith inspecting the aforementioned corpse while her colleague Reinert is busily occupied vomiting because he knows (knew) the victim.
The victim herself is Live (perfect choice of name, all things considered) and it is her family that have run the local undertakers for 5 generations. The business is now run by her father and her brother whose name is Odd (the 11th most common male name in Norway). The funeral business is not doing well in Skarnes, chiefly because no one dies there (it’s not exactly risk central).
Live’s body is taken for an autopsy as the local police recognise that her death may just not be due to natural causes (despite efforts to bear in mind costs) and it is there, just as Live has a scalpel stuck into her rib cage that she comes back to life.
This sets the scene for how the storyline spins from here on. The main storyline is of Live coming to terms with her second chance at life but with the added realisation of discovering that she has an irresistible drive to consume blood.
I really enjoyed the way that this show explores the darkness of Live’s situation as she struggles with the signs and symptoms associated with her body’s needs. We see her eyes change, her sense of hearing becomes far more acute and blood… well… her appetite for blood drives her to do some extreme things. Added to that is her everyday job in a nursing home and her “relationship” with Reinert which has some interesting consequences. She realises that someone tried to murder her and while the “whodunnit” is not really the point, the “whydunnit” really is.
The subplot revolves around her sweet, rather naive brother, Odd, who inherits the undertaking business after an unfortunate incident that leads to the father’s death. He is an experienced undertaker but is a hopeless salesman and soon realises the business (and their home) is up to its neck in debt. What can he do to save it?
All families have secrets but boy… this family has bigger secrets than most!
I have already mentioned the darkness of Live’s storyline but at this point, I really should stress that Post Mortem is just as much a comedy as it is a drama. There are some fantastic, laugh out loud funny moments some of which involve mud, plastic bags, beds, discussing dining options and, of course, blood and did I mention mud?
There is really good cinematography in this right from that opening scene. The music works well too, yes, even the singing in the hearse. The special effects such as Live’s eyes are great as are the “blood gags” and other make-up effects. There are some great stunts and fights in this!
The story is intricate without being too complex to follow and I love the way it plays with the genre. The pacing of Post Mortem is great with momentum sustained whilst increasing tension, releasing it a bit only then to increase it once again. There is some properly bloody violence in this but it is not in the least bit gratuitous (I mean… a girl’s got to eat!)
Much of it works well as a comedy because we, the audience, can just anticipate some of the things happening before the characters do along with breaking of social norms which gives rise to “I know I shouldn’t be laughing at this but it is really funny!” Occasionally the jokes don’t quite land but these are easily outweighed by those that do. There is nothing like a bit of slapstick and farce to raise a giggle or three.
The characters themselves are well-drawn and played by all. I especially enjoyed Live, Odd, Judith and Reinert. The comedic delivery and timing are excellent but there’s range shown here from all the actors. This totally works as a dark comedy and I just love the Norwegian sense of humour. Parts of high farce reminded me of the equally hilarious Norsemen and Lilyhammer.
Post Mortem is a highly entertaining TV show and I had no trouble bingeing my way shamelessly through all 6 episodes of season 1. It certainly hit my funny bone and I was cackling away like a fool a lot of the time. I was left wanting more (always a very good sign) and I could easily have watched 2 more episodes. I am now eagerly awaiting the announcement of its renewal and will definitely watch a season 2 if/when it arrives.
I loved watching this show!
It is too early for Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes to have won any awards but watch this space!