Katla is a chilling new eight-part series from Netflix which was recently released on the streaming platform. In addition to captivating viewers with its sinister plot, the dramatic Scandinavian setting shown throughout also captivated fans.
Produced by RVK Studios, the series is beautifully filmed science fiction, a cross between solaris and the french series The Returned, only this time it takes place in Iceland and involves the power of a volcano.
Created by Balthazar Kormakur, Katla is a slow series, mixing science fiction and Icelandic folklore, with stunning images of the brutal and somewhat apocalyptic Icelandic landscape.
Katla's Inspiration and Story
Katla is the name of a sub-glacial volcano that disturbs the peace and tranquility of the remote coastal village of Vík in southern Iceland. the plot follows Grima, who is desperately looking for his sister, who disappeared on the same day of the eruption. A year later, she miraculously returns covered in volcanic ash, causing disbelief and panic – she shouldn't be alive. However, her arrival is just the beginning, with many others like her rising from the ashes and creating chaos for the small community.
“As people evacuate the area, mysterious elements that have been deep frozen in the glacier since prehistoric times begin to emerge from the melting ice and cause consequences no one could have predicted,” states the official synopsis of this science fiction series.
Who stars in the series?
Katla is carried out by Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð, better known as the musician GDRN, Iris Tanja Flygenring, Ingvar Sigurðsson, Forsteinn Bachmann and Sólveig Arnarsdóttir. the swedish actors Aliette Opheim and Valter Skarsgård also appear on the show.
Katla is created and directed by the veteran Icelandic director Balthazar Kormakur, best known for directing the movies Everest, Adrift, 101 Reykjavík, the sea and A Little Trip To Heaven.
Where was Katla filmed?
The series was filmed in a city called Vik, in Iceland, known as a tourist spot. The Icelandic film director and actor Balthazar Kormakur talked about his experience filming Katla during the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020. He told Screen Daily: “We came to film Katla in Vík, which is usually Iceland's busiest tourist spot. And then we showed up and there wasn't a single soul – it was like 28 days later.”
Speaking about the challenges of filming during the pandemic, he added: “Instead of giving up, I filmed about 300 days this year. It's all different, we made changes even before the restrictions took effect. After the first spike [in infections], we were the first to start shooting again for Netflix. ”
Vík has a population of just 300 people and there are no towns or settlements for at least 50 km in each direction. The settlement dates back to the ninth century, but it was only in 1890 that traders settled permanently in the region. The city borders the real-life Katla volcano to the north, while the picturesque Víkurkirkja Church is the meeting place in case of sudden eruption or flooding.
Filming also took place at Kormákur's own RVK Studios production facility outside Reykjavík.
Very well accepted by the review
The series achieved the impressive score of 100% in the rottentomatoes, with the audience giving a score of 80%, and it seems that mystery is the great triumph of success.
John Doyle, of The Globe and Mail, thinks this, saying that "there is a captivating mystery about the broken heart." Already Jonathan Wilson of Ready Steady Cut sees both sides of the issue, thinking the series can be frustrating with the amount of questions that pile up without even answering the mysteries in the background, but it's also one of those shows that want to bring down the whole house of cards at once.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, of The Daily Dot, thinks the setting is the big difference “Delighting in the somber beauty of Vik's dramatic landscape, it offers a sinister supernatural mystery. Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð leads an impressive cast as Grima, sister of the missing woman Ása.”
And there are those who think that both the mystery and the setting stand out in the production. Like Austin Burke of Flick Fan Nation, who claims that "The intensity in this series is high as it slowly builds a haunting mystery against this beautiful landscape."
Season 1 of Katla is available on Netflix.