Spectator Life, the lifestyle magazine from The Spectator, put together a list of the best Scandi Noir to watch this winter, and The Valhalla Murders is on it, along with some of my favorites, likes Bordertown and Caliphate. The full list can be read here.
The Icelandic Film Centre has granted my movie project Dimmuborgir (Dark Cities) the first screenwriting grant. The project is based on my own novel, which I published in April, and I highly look forward to developing the story further.
The news about the new TV show I'm working on is out and I did two interviews, but they're both in Icelandic. It's a Danish TV show, which I'm writing with fellow-Icelandic writer from The Valhalla Murders, Mikael Torfason. I can't really say much about the project at this stage, except that it's being produced by two-time Academy Award winner Kim Magnusson, and helping us with the story is renowned film maker Achim Von Borries (Babylon Berlin, Goodbye Lenin). The Icelandic interviews are here and here.
Her World, the popular, best-selling women's magazine in Singapore, puts The Valhalla Murders on its list of best detective and crime shows to watch, along with such classics as Broadchurch and True Detective.The full list is here.
I'm currently working on a new TV series, but I can't really say a lot about it, except that it's Danish and produced by an Oscar-winning producer. I'm writing it with another writer and developing the story it with a German director of a much beloved series.
Our series takes place in Denmark and Greenland, at different time periods. I hope to be able to bring you more news about this exciting project later on.
The Sydney Morning Herald gives The Valhalla Murders a very favorable review today: "The Valhalla Murders is enthralling stuff, the contrasting grit
and gleam of the interiors and exteriors – and even of the actors
themselves – weaving a visual spell of its own. But series creator
Thordur Palsson knows how to set a fuse for a slow burn."
Renowned travel magazine Travel and Leisure puts The Valhalla Murders on its 13 Scandinavian binge-worthy TV shows, writing: "The first Icelandic series to appear on Netflix, The Valhalla Murders shows
viewers all around this island nation — on the trail of a killer. After
a series of seemingly unrelated murders around the country, a detective
returns home from his post in Oslo to help investigate. What happens
next takes him from Reykjavik to the harbor to the wilderness along the
Ring Road, and is based (loosely) on real events that occurred in rural
Iceland in the 1940s."
The Golden Globes website recommends The Valhalla Murders, in an article about Nordic Noir shows, concluding: "While the series may start out slowly, it rewards your patience with the tension that builds with each episode."
You can read it here.
Arts Atlanta recommends The Valhalla Murders, writing: "From Iceland comes The Valhalla Murders
(eight episodes), the twisty tale of Reykjavik police detective Kata
(Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir) who investigates a string of mutilations and
murders of middle-aged and older people who worked at a 1980s school for
boys with a dark history."
Adding: "As in the best of
these things (think the UK’s Prime Suspect or Happy Valley),
what’s as interesting as the whodunit is the professional gender
politics and home-life pressures our lead inspector must navigate."
Glamour Magazine UK recommends The Valhalla Murders, writing: "Need some new crime drama in your life? The Valhalla Murders
has answered your prayers. This brand new series focuses on police
officer Arnar, who is sent home to Iceland from Oslo to investigate the
country’s first-ever serial killer case. We are expecting grit, gore and
a load of 'hide behind the cushion' moments."
According to TV Time, the tracking platform for TV and movies on iOS, Android, and web, The Valhalla Murders is one of the most binged limited/mini-series of 2020 so far, putting the show in number 13. The list is here. Very cool.
The Valhalla Murders gets a nice review in Ámbito, the Argentinian newspaper, calling the series a "powerful Icelandic police show", concluding: "Not suitable for overly sensitive viewers, but fans of a strong, gore-filled thriller will be grateful."
I did a small interview about life in Barcelona during the quarantine, and also why my wife and me love and live in the city, which is usually so vibrant and alive. It's in Icelandic and can be read here.
Mystery Productions (The Valhalla Murders, Prisoners, etc) has bought the film rights to my new novel. I'll be writing the adaptation myself and have already started working on it, with director/producer Davíð Óskar Ólafsson attached to direct.
The news was announced in this interview I did the other day in Fréttablaðið, Iceland's biggest newspaper.
Vice Magazine (US) recommends The Valhalla Murders as an escapism during these strange times, writing: "I didn't mean to watch The Valhalla Murders in one single Netflix binge. The eight-episode Icelandic police drama was intense,
though, and having to focus on English subtitles meant that I couldn't
refresh any of the terrifying coronavirus maps that Safari has added to
my phone's Frequently Visited section."
CLEO Magazine (Singapore) puts The Valhalla Murders on its list of best detective and crime dramas to binge-watch right now, saying: "Not only is this a thrilling crime drama that will hook you in from the start, it is also worth watching for the gorgeous scenery of Iceland. Except beautiful landscapes of wintry landscapes and sprawling mountains that serve as the perfect backdrop to this dark and brooding mystery."
Here's a nice review about The Valhalla Murders from Romania, which says: "As the story progresses - increasingly complex - dark secrets from the characters' past begin to surface, making each episode more and more thrilling."
Adding: "In the end, the action takes a totally unexpected turn, revealing corruption, abuses and the chain of lies woven around the authorities, of those who had to fight, in fact, for the safety and the good of the people, the denouement sending me thinking about a movie, very good, with a similar theme: Spotlight."
Here's a nice review I came across on a Greek website, which summarizes: "The Valhalla Murders, Netflix's excellent mystery series.The unfolds masterfully, without semantic gaps, chatter and exaggeration."
ABC, Australia's national broadcaster, gives The Valhalla Murders a very favorable review on its radio station, saying that it "respects its audience,
and delivers a gruesome mystery with a strong female lead."
Saying that the cinematography is "done with such richness ... absolutely beautiful to look at" and praising the music as well, concluding: "After the second episode, I was completely and utterly engaged".
You can listen to it here, from the beginning to around minute 15.
Fun to run into a very positive review in the South-African blog RSG, written in Afrikaans. The show gets 9 stars out of 10, with the conclusion: "The Valhalla Murders is catchy, entertaining, surprising and will allow your time to relax within a blink of an eye. Guess and investigate together."
My newest novel is out! It took me 6 years to finish it, but it's finally here. It's in Icelandic, called Dimmuborgir (Dark Cities), and publishes by Forlagið, Iceland's biggest publishing house.
The book is about literature critic Elmar Arnarsson, who gets new information about the death of his best friend Felix 25 years earlier. He's always been certain that Felix was killed, but becomes obsessed with trying to find out the truth about his friend's fate.But revisiting his painful past shakes Elmar's lonesome existence to the core.
The title of the novel comes from this place in Iceland, famous for its unusually shaped lava fields.
Dagbladet, one of Norway's biggest newspapers, writes a very favorable review about The Valhalla Murders, in an article called "Icelandic Crime Pearl":
"...this mystery is executed with such sophisticated craftsmanship that it stands out in a burgeoning serial market. The Valhalla Murders lives up to genre expectations in every way: It is a clinically cool and visually hyper-realistic crime mystery that could have taken place anywhere, but magnificently added to Icelandic lowlands."
Concluding: "Netflix's first Icelandic series is quality content of the hard-boiled, unbleached Nordic noir type."
The popular film site Screen Rant recommends The Valhalla Murders, saying: "Travel to the cold and monochromatic country of Iceland by enjoying
this unique whodunnit. The series follows a female detective named Kata
whose town becomes a killing ground for an unknown serial slayer. The
person seems to be targetting older men, and the crimes are connected by
knife slashes around each victim's eyes."
Adding: "The Valhalla Murders manages to provide an inside look into
the workings of Kata's Icelandic police department, into the family
dynamics that inform detective work, and into the public response to
Here's a nice review from Chile: "The greatest strength of this production is its characters. Human, fragile, full of flaws and weaknesses."
Adding: "The Murders of Valhalla are a pleasant surprise from northern Europe, which refreshes with different languages and rhythms a genre that seems exhausted in the West, but that can always be successfully reinvented."
La Diara, Uruguay's second biggest newspaper, published a very nice review about The Valhalla Murders, praising its characters, the writing, and the original approach to the genre, in terms of the last three episodes, concluding: "The Valhalla Murders is worth every minute of its duration and deserves a good marathon in these days of withdrawal (or any other day)."
Aftonbladet, Sweden's biggest newspaper and one of the biggest papers in Scandinavia, puts The Valhalla Murders on its list of 6 new TV series to watch (along with great shows like The Plot Against America and Hillary).
It writes:"Really beautiful, dark, moody and difficult Nordic noir, which has just landed on Netflix.Icelandic "The Valhalla murders" (eight parts) not only has the perfect title, but also a solid gloom, winter-white plot, social misery, cops wrestling with darkness in the past and of course horrific murders."
The film UNA (Recurrence), written by Marteinn Thorsson and me, is in full pre-production mode. It had a few "test" shooting days last December, with principal photography planned to start in September. It's produced by Gudrun Edda Thorhannesdottir.
Marteinn Thorsson also serves as the director, while the script is based on a novel by me from 2012. I'm looking forward to bring you more news about this exciting project.