fri 19/07/2024

Black Lake, BBC Four review – Nordic blanc falls flat | reviews, news & interviews

Black Lake, BBC Four review – Nordic blanc falls flat

Black Lake, BBC Four review – Nordic blanc falls flat

Swedish ski resort thriller urgently needs some hotting up

Off-piste: Sarah-Sofie Boussnina and Filip Berg lead the cast of 'Black Lake'

What would Saturday nights be without BBC Four’s regular subtitle-fests?

Black Lake, their new Swedish import, has nothing in the way of originality to recommend it, but its tale of a haunted ski resort somewhere out towards the Norwegian border may help to ward off seasonal ennui as temperatures fall and the evenings draw in.   

The story so far: Johan (Filip Berg), an impatient young capitalist, wants to buy the derelict resort of Svartsjön, and gathers together a bunch of his buddies go and check the place out. Initially it seems like the kind of experience the average Brit could only dream of while braving the rabid hordes on an Easter weekend at Alpe d’Huez, where there isn’t even enough room to fall over – there’s nobody at Svartsjön except Erkki the grumbling old caretaker (Nils Ole Oftebro, pictured below), and somehow Johan and his chums have all the ski lifts working just for their own personal use.

They’ve even brought along their own personal chef, the amply-proportioned Osvald (Victor Von Schirach). The snow is perfect and the views are magnificent, with Johan proudly taking his girlfriend Hanne (Sarah-Sofie Boussnina) to survey the panorama of lake and forest which, any day now, will all be his. Hanne is so impressed that she accept’s Johan’s proposal of marriage.

However, we know from the opening flashback sequence that something hideous happened here 20 years earlier (we saw a man in handcuffs going hysterical and breaking free from his captors), and it’s not long before a shadow or two starts to fall across Johan’s dreams of creating an iconic upmarket winter-sports destination. At first we only hear vaguely that somebody died at the resort. Hanne starts hearing things go bump in the night, and the disobliging Erkki goes all surly and defensive when they ask if he can let them into the mysterious locked cellar whence the noises seem to emanate. Jessan, the latest girlfriend of Frank – she can’t ski, but skiing wasn’t uppermost in Frank’s mind when he invited her – wakes up after having a dream about being suffocated, suffering from a horribly bloodshot eye (Aliette Opheim as Jessan, below).

This takes on a new and sinister meaning after Hanne, somewhat unfeasibly hooking up with a suspiciously over-friendly bloke called Jostein who runs a snowmobile business with his troll-like brother Dag, tracks down the detective involved in investigating the earlier death, and discovers that a family of four were found strangled. She finds strange childish drawings of scarecrow-like figures with one bloodshot eye. The door to the cellar mysteriously swings open of its own accord. Then Jessan takes an E and starts yelling “I murdered the child!” 

Ok, I give up – it’s ludicrous. One can only hope that it will suddenly turn really dark and ugly in the ensuing episodes. We leave you with news that the increasingly neurotic visitors may be experiencing a visitation from a “myling”, which as you are perhaps aware is the spirit of a dead child which has returned to steal somebody else’s soul. I hope these suckers have really good winter sports insurance.


Have to say after episode 2, i enjoyed it. I like Scandi drama's, usually they are very good. I will look forward to next weeks episode. It is picking up now. Give it a chance.

Yes I agree with Deborah. In fact I found it very atmospheric and a bit scary. I was nervous going upstairs to bed!

Like it .... bit scary to be honest. Bit Blair Witch.

Dear Deborah, There is no need for an apostrophe in dramas, It is a straight forward plural.

Iris that is a trivial & pedantic remark.

Dear Iris, if this kind of stuff is so important to you, straightforward is one word.

Perfect! Thanks life for the opportunity to point out a mistake Iris made.

Complete rubbish. Ludicrous unbelievable plot.

I am thoroughly enjoying it. I almost to watch one bit through my fingers from behind the sofa. It's great. What horror story has ever been believable? I prefer the old crime dramas, but for a bit of a change it's beautifully atmospheric and bewildering. I'm not entirely sure if there is anything paranormal, though.

what a load of rubbish. Thick people in the snow. It took me till tonight to realise it was a spoof when near the end one of the thickies said "that's the last skiing holiday I go on. What a waste of the last 8 saturdays of my life. Come on BBC get a grip.

I absolutely can't wait for BBC 4 Saturday evening film series,BUT I have never been so disappointed with the Black Lake series. The whole plot was so far fetched and poorly filmed,so dim lighting etc etc. I feel so sorry for whoever thought this deserved a place on the otherwise great weekend film slot.

What a load of rubbish! I have wasted 4 Saturday nights on this inconsistent tosh. BBC4, buy something believable next time....

Unbelievably dreadful. Poorly conceived, directed and acted. I just don’t understand who could possibly have approved this for public viewing.

Why does the BBC waste money on such vile rubbish?

Utter garbage. The only thing remotely touching was Hanne's grief over her long-dead brother. Everything else ludicrous and pointless.

Not a good series! Totally predictable and because of that, boring! Shame as most of scandinavian crime series are good!

Angry with myself for enduring all 8 episodes. Basically it was Scooby Doo with snow.

What a lot of old miseries you all are. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series, and I support Iris in her ear on the apostrophe!

Didn’t watch when it was being aired, but just binge watched all but two episodes and looking forward to the finale. Perfect for hallowe’en.

What an absolute piece of rubbish! Why on earth would the BBC buy/air this inept and painfull ineptitude? Heaven help us !!!

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters