Imagine a beautiful Norwegian fjord, with majestic snow-covered peaks, foaming waterfalls and a touristic village with a hotel right on the waterfront. Now imagine part of the mountain falling and a huge tidal wave rushing through the fjord, destroying everything.
Norway's first disaster movie Bølgen, or 'The Wave' in English, is set in the Geiranger fjord, a Unesco world heritage site and major tourist destination, where more than 300,000 cruise ship passengers visit each year.
In the film, Kristian, a geologist played by the actor Kristoffer Joner, realises that there are less than ten minutes left before an 85m tsunami hits the village of Geiranger, forcing him to race against time to save the villagers, tourists, and his own family.
Uthaug's 2006 slasher movie Cold Prey was one of the first of a string of modern Norwegian horror films, which saw the country's directors give the genre their own unique twist.
Film director Roar Uthaug launches The Wave on Sunday. Photo: Terje Bendiksby/NTB Scanpix
The Wave's plot may not seem original, with films such as Dantes Peak (1997), and “Twister” (1996) also featuring an expert who learns of an impending danger who has only a limited time to save a town and his loved ones.
What makes Bølgen remarkable is that a tidal wave actually did hit Geiranger fjord in 1934, killing 40 people.
The disaster is likely to happen again. Åkerneset, the mountain which causes the catastrophe in Bølgen, is certain sooner or later to fall into the fjord and cause a massive wave to hit the town.
Understandably, locals have mixed feelings about the film.
“I actually screamed the first time I saw the trailer and how the tidal wave swept in over the hotel,” Maud Haldorsen, who manages the Hotel Geiranger in real life, told Norway's Bergens Tidende newspaper. “The hotel is my second home and it felt painful to see it being destroyed by the wave.”