Force of nature: tidal waves, earthquakes, and burning seas – the world of Norwegian disaster movies!

The disaster genre is one that I grew up watching a lot of as a kid in the 80s – back then such films as Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake, or Airport ’77 were perfect Saturday night movies to catch on television with whomever was babysitting me.

The genre has continued to be present in cinema with the likes of The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, 2012, San Andreas, and the most recent one being Moonfall – which has taken it a little to the extreme – but these have been Hollywood productions so what else would you expect.

What has caught my attention recently has been the spur of disaster movies from the Nordic region and specifically, Norway! The most recent being The Burning Sea (or The North Sea in some countries) which is out in cinemas and on DOD now and will be available on Blu-ray in July.

With this new release, we looked back at the other great disaster movies that have come out of Norway in the last 10 years.

The Wave
(2015) Directed by Roar Uthaug

The Wave was perhaps one of the first movies to kick off this wave (ahem, sorry) of Norwegian disaster genre films, and what made it such a big hit was that the logic behind what happens in the film is based on fact and could even possibly happen.

Director Roar Uthaug (soon to be releasing his new movie Troll on Netflix later this year) does a fantastic job of building up the momentum before all hell breaks loose. It’s a narrative we have seen used in most movies like this, but it works really well here.

The film has a great cast including Kristoffer Joner and Ane Dahl Torp who return for the sequel, The Quake.

Having driven around this beautiful part of the Norwegian fjords where the film is set, it will certainly add an extra edge when visiting there again having seen this!

You can currently rent this on Amazon Prime

The Quake
(2018) Directed by John Andreas Andersen

With the success of The Wave it was inevitable that a sequel would be made, and this time the action is centred around the beautiful city of Oslo, which it proceeds to decimate with a devastating earthquake.

Director Johan Andreas Andersen (who also directed the new The Burning Sea) helms this sequel which wasn’t as successful as its predecessor, but that by no way means that is it isn’t any good. In fact, for those that are afraid of heights in buildings this film is downright terrifying for the last thirty minutes which involves the destruction of the Radisson Blu hotel!

The cast from the previous film return with the added extras of one of our favourite Norwegian actresses Kathrine Thorborg Johansen.

You can currently see this movie over on Amazon Prime with Freevee

The Tunnel
(2019) Directed by Pål Øie

A year later another disaster movie was released with Pål Øie’s The Tunnel; this felt a little bit more lower on the destruction scale but in terms of lives at stake and fear factor the film cleverly taps into some of our worst fears when an accident inside a tunnel causes complete chaos and casualties.

There are all the usual stereotypical situations happening here, such as the lead character’s daughter is missing and caught up in the fracas, and though it is another slow build, it still manages to entertain thanks to a decent cast headed by the excellent Thorbjørn Harr.

The film was most recently on Film4 but can be found on Amazon Prime now for rental.

The Burning Sea
(2021) Directed by John Andreas Andersen

Director John Andreas Andersen returns to the scene of disaster with this huge action drama which sees the North Sea go up in flames. It is quite something, and the film is aided by a fantastic cast including the brilliant Kristine Kujath Thorp, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, and Henrik Bjelland.

What to expect? Well if you have fear of being trapped underwater then this will certainly not help as the film focuses on a specialist submarine crew, played by Kristine Kujath Thorp and Rolf Kristain Larson, who can find people trapped underwater with their specially designed robots.

The pair get called up to help with a top secret matter only for all hell to break loose and, naturally, someone’s partner gets tangled up in all of it!

It is a great disaster flick with a strong cast and a strong message on the climate crisis too!

The Burning Sea was released last week on DOD and a Blu-Ray release is coming on the 25th July

Feature by Alex Minnis