If I were a snow-themed serial killer I’d murder my victims with sharpened popsicles and then lick up the evidence like a cat. Or I’d shovel ice into their mouths until they died of severe brain freeze and then piss all over them so they looked like massive yellow snow cones. The killer in Tomas Alfredson’s Scandinavian crime thriller The Snowman does nothing like that.
Instead, snowballs are thrown at windows and a variety of stunted snowmen with mouths made of coffee beans are plotted around Oslo. Terrifying. Michael Fassbender plays Hairy Hole, a drunken detective who has to track down this public nuisance before things get out of hand and any semblance of a good film coagulates.
Hairy Hole lives outside in the snow like a yeti because his apartment is being treated for dry rot, a problem that now, coincidentally, also plagues his hairy hole. If anything, that gives him more right to be an icy psychopath than the actual killer. Constantly damp anus hairs would certainly send me on a murderous rampage.
But due to a poorly edited opening sequence, which feels like it’s been taken out of the hands of the director, the real killer’s motives are far less clear. They mostly target women, using an amputation device to separate their body parts like chipolatas, but they don’t even have the decency to make snow-based puns in the notes they leave for the police.
Fassbender’s Hairy Hole has to team up with new detective Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson), who has personal reasons for wanting to catch the killer, and is also investigating a Scandinavian Harvey Weinstein (JK Simmons). None of this makes any sense, however, as the story appears to have massive chunks of it missing, like the majority of the killer’s victims.
I have to say, I was profoundly baffled by The Snowman, not just because it fails to capitalise on a variety of winter-related deaths (no one gets stuck to a metal pole and has to peel off the entirety of their flesh to evade an oncoming avalanche), but because it’s meant to be based on a best-selling novel by Jo Nesbø. I highly doubt he envisaged one of his characters being played by an 87-year-old-looking Val Kilmer who speaks through his teeth, yet somehow still manages to make it look like he’s been dubbed by a sound editor on work experience.