Gilbert Speaks on Alex Herron’s “Leave”

Have I mentioned how much I love Shudder Original Films, especially if they are foreign films? When a young girl tries to find out why she was abandoned as an infant in a cemetery, the search leads her to a terrifying discovery.


Leave is a Norwegian horror film from SF Studios that was written by Thomas Moladestad and directed by Alex Herron. Alex Herron is a Norwegian music video and commercial director, but he has definitely proven himself a talented film director.

Leave stars Alicia von Rittberg, Clarence Smith, Herman Tommeraas, Stig R. Amdam, Maria Alm Norell, and Morten Holst, and begins when the police receive a mysterious call about an infant abandoned at a cemetery. The police officer sent out to investigate finds the female baby wrapped in a blanket with satanic symbols and wearing a Nordic wolf pendant. We jump ahead 20 years to learn that the police officer (Clarence Smith) and his family have adopted the infant and named her Hunter (Alicia von Rittberg). Hunter’s adoptive mom has passed away, and her adoptive brothers are grown with families of their own.

Curious about her origins, Hunter does a genetic test and learns that she is from Norway. Her dad thinks that Hunter is heading off to college, but Hunter secretly goes to Norway to find her mother. The blanket that Hunter was found in turns out to be a clue, and Hunter quickly tracks down the band members that her mom was hanging out with. The lead singer, Cecilia (Ellen Dorit Petersen) tells Hunter that her mom, Anna (Maria Alm Norell), and band member Kristian (Morten Holst) were lovers. Kristian is in jail, accused of murdering Anna by locking her inside a church and burning it down. Kristian has, for over 20 years, claimed that he was innocent.

After Cecilia gives Hunter the address to remaining family members, Hunter drives out into the countryside to connect with the family and learn more about her mother, and this is where the fun begins…or should I say, terror?


Who is the specter that constantly warns Hunter to leave as the girl tries to bond with her maternal grandfather, Torstein (Stig R. Amdam) aunt, uncle, and cousin Stian (Herman Tommeraas)? Why won’t Torstein allow Hunter to read her mom’s diary? Who really died in that church fire?

Leave may start off slow, but once Hunter meets her family, she realizes that some secrets are too horrible to keep…especially when dealing with the evilness of cult Christianity. The ending will knock you off your seat. It was unexpected! I definitely give Leave an A+ recommendation.

You can watch Leave on Shudder starting March 17, 2023.

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