Review Index



A stunningly photographed, powerfully atmospheric modern silent that’s about as gross, unsettling and plain weird as they come. Plus, at just 27 minutes it’s ideal for multiple viewings.

The Package
     RECOMPENCE was co-written, produced, directed and edited by Ronny Carlsson, who also runs the underground film website Film Bizarro ( The film was apparently completed in August 2010, although as to how it will be distributed I have no idea. Keep an eye out for it.

The Story
     In the midst of a deep insect-packed forest a filthy, blood caked young woman crawls out of a gnarled thicket. Following a brief flashback of herself driving a car down a rural road, the woman makes her way through the woods to a cabin, where a robed figure wearing a featureless white mask stares out at her. Entering the cabin, the young woman finds the figure playing with his/her exposed innards. The two get into a struggle…
     Cut back to the thicket, from which the young woman emerges once again. Again she staggers through the forest and, bypassing the cabin, comes to an X carved in the muddy ground. She digs up the mud around the X and discovers a photo of a young man, which triggers a second car-set flashback.
     Further encounters with the masked figure follow. During one of them the young woman strips naked, slashes open the figure’s belly with a shard of glass and yanks out its innards--and again finds that photo of a young man seen earlier…

The Direction
Beautifully lensed in bold, contrasty black-and-white, this is one of the best looking films I’ve seen in some time. The rural locations have a genuinely primitive, elemental feel to them, and the narrative, with its multiple timelines and repeated motifs, is authentically surreal (meaning it seems worth one’s while to try and figure out what-all happens).
     The film was clearly inspired by E. Elias Merhige’s experimental classic BEGOTTEN, from the grainy film stock to the sight of an indistinct robed individual yanking out its innards. Yet RECOMPENCE has a uniquely stark, nightmarish vibe that’s very much its own. And yes, the nudity and gore are extremely graphically portrayed, so if you’re squeamish steer clear!

Vital Statistics

Film Bizarro Productions

Director: Ronny Carlsson
Producer: Ronny Carlsson, Preston Carnell
Screenplay: Ronny Carlsson, Preston Carnell
Cinematography: Mikael Johansson
Editing: Ronny Carlsson
Cast: Mariette Lilja, Sven-Erik Andersson, Amelie Malmberg, Ronny Carlsson, Nathalie Bergenstrahle