The Madame in Black, or Svarta Madam

Rated: Not Rated

        I’ve talked a lot over the years about how inventive indie horror filmmakers are. How some use seemingly mundane things to scare us, while others pit their characters against the horrors their own minds produce. Some have even gone so far as to use puppets to bring us semi-spoofs of the classic “kids at camp” type horror films. But for all of these terrific horror films it seems that the filmmakers’ goals are the same: come up with some way, (whether through storyline, artistic medium, or otherwise), to stand apart from the crowd.
        A more traditional approach to horror in film is to take an urban legend or myth, and to base the film’s story around that, which is exactly what Swedish indie filmmaker Jarno Lee Vinsencius did. His film
The Madame in Black, or Svarta Madam, is based on the Swedish legend of the same name. I couldn’t find anything about the origins of the myth, but it’s very similar to Bloody Mary, or Candyman here in the U.S.  A website about Swedish myth and legend says:
Alex and Emma wait for The Madame in Black (Photo courtesy of Jarno Lee Vinsencius)

Alex and Emma wait for The Madame in Black (Photo courtesy of Jarno Lee Vinsencius)

The myth of Black Madame tells you that if you stand in front of a mirror in a bathroom with the lights off and speak out the words: Black Madame, Black Madame, the daughter of the devil, show yourself. During the time you are pronouncing the spell you shall splash some water at the mirror. Then Black Madame shall appear in the mirror.”
The Madame in Black film follows siblings Alex and Emma.  During Emma’s birthday party they decide it’d be fun to play the “game” Madame in Black again, as they did during childhood. But they soon realize that there just might be some truth to this urban legend.
        Filmmaker Jarno Lee Vinsencius has made 35 films thus far, most of them shorts, and while they’re not all horror films, they all seem to have darker themes. The Madame in Black is the first film of his I’ve seen, and he definitely seems to have a style all his own. According to his IMDB page his trademark is a twist ending, and I certainly believe it after seeing this film.
Is she out there? Find out in The Madame in Black! (Photo courtesy of Jarno Lee Vinsencius)

Is she out there? Find out in The Madame in Black! (Photo courtesy of Jarno Lee Vinsencius)

The Madame in Black has everything a traditional horror fan could want: a moonlit, foggy night; a legend that people believe, but don’t want to admit they believe; police officers who write the night’s horrors off to something else before getting killed and a ditzy blond who thinks she’s the best thing since sliced bread and is oblivious to transpirings all around her.
        What the film doesn’t have is a long, drawn out plot that gets old and predictable by the end, which of course is a good thing.  At just under 24 minutes long this film is a refreshing take on a traditional story. Jarno has created a horror film that keeps you engaged, guessing and on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and he’s done so in a way that leaves the film open to transformation into a feature at some point if Jarno so desires. After seeing
The Madame in Black I certainly look forward to exploring this impressive young filmmaker’s works further.

The Madame in Black, or Svarta Madam is not rated, was written and directed by Jarno Lee Vinsencius and stars Demis Tzivis and Ida Gyllensten. More information about the film and Jarno Lee Vinsencius can be found here:
  • The Madame in Black on IMDB