Post Mortem – No One Dies in Skarnes

Rating :   ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Categorisation: Drama-comedy

Availability: Netflix

Plot: Post Mortem was directed by Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) and Petter Holmsen (who also wrote the screenplay). It is a story of life, and death, in the small Norwegian town of Skarnes. But we soon realise this is no Anne of Green Gables story. The body of Live Hallangen, daughter of the local funeral director, is found near an old barn in the middle of an otherwise empty field. The police declare her dead and sends her body to the coroner. Then, at the plunge of the coroner’s scalpel, Live dramatically awakens. Quickly recovering, she starts experiencing life differently – she has a new hypersensitivity to sound, greater physical strength, and a disconcerting lust for blood. Somehow, she’s just not the same old Live. As she struggles to come to grips with increasingly disturbing vampire tendencies, her brother, Odd, is coping with his own troubles. The family funeral parlour business is on the brink of bankruptcy. No one dies in Skarnes, and that has serious implications for undertakers…unless, of course, a sister’s changing temperament can save the family business!

Cast: Brilliantly engaging the art of dark humour, the cast of Post Mortem is outstanding.  Katherine Thorborg Johansen is terrific as Live. Her expressions of shock, horror, surprise and discombobulation are impressive. Elias Holmsen Sørensen as her brother Odd, is also first-rate. He brings a good-heartedness and a charming naivety to his part – an excellent counter to his sister’s increasingly alarming behaviour. Many of the funniest scenes though, involve the police. Andrée Sørum is great as the earnest young policeman who has an unfortunate crush on Live. But best of all, is Kim Fairchild as the police boss, Judith. Helped by some of the funniest lines in the series, her comic timing is perfect.

Filming and Setting: The series is set in Skarnes, a small town in the Innlandet county of Norway (population 2,456). Filmed at the beginning of the Nordic winter, the cinematography takes full advantage of the stark and beautiful landscapes. The cold forensic environment of the coroner’s laboratory and the old-fashioned funeral home preparation room are bleak. Colours of white and grey are juxtaposed with the reds of the bloody scenes as Live discovers her new appetites. The soundtrack is worth a mention. The 1950s banjo music in particular rattles along, never letting us forget that humour rests at the heart of this series. I don’t know a lot about Nordic music, but it is interesting that Øystein Sunde, the Norwegian musician and banjo player, grew up in Skarnes, so it might be a nod to a famous old-boy.

Personal Comments: Before you dismiss Post Mortem as an unwelcome return of a vampire genre, you need to know that this is most definitely a drama-comedy. And indeed, it’s a very clever and well executed one. We’ve seen Scandinavian playfulness with genres before, for example the very funny crime spoof Fallet ( This one is similar, but with an intriguing funeral parlour setting that brings a melancholic edge to the drama. If you give it a try, you might just find yourself hooked.

Netflix Official Trailer:

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