Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small man made of chestnuts.
Quick Review: I love a good slow burn thriller. Throw in a whodunit and a serial killer with a creepy motif and I’m going to binge like I’m at a free buffet! So when I saw Netflix released another foreign language series called The Chestnut Man I just had to check it out. Luckily it didn’t disappoint. So if you’re a fan of these types of shows here’s a mild SPOILER ALERT and three reasons to give this one a look:
Reason #1 A Killer with a Creepy Calling Card
Unlike Slender Man there’s nothing supernatural about this killer. The Chestnut Man gets his name from his penchant for leaving little stick figures made out of chestnuts next to his victims. It’s not something I’ve ever seen before but it also doesn’t feel forced as the reason for this links directly back to his motives and his trauma-filled past.
Set in Denmark (specifically Copenhagen) the cinematography fits perfectly with the motif of the story as everything feels a bit cold and isolated. And the kills, while gruesome, are never gratuitous, so The Chestnut Man strikes a balance that works well for fans of similar series like The Killing.
Reason #2 A Whodunit That Keeps You on Your Toes
The clues are all there but like any good thriller The Chestnut Man gives them to you in spurts that feel true to life. For some this may be frustrating, but as in life (or unlike an episode of CSI that has to wrap up in 45 minutes) the investigation of what, why and who is killing these women unfolds in six episodes (or five, with the sixth being the most action-packed).
It’s kind of like when you’re reading a good thriller you want to know who did it, but you don’t skip chapters to get there. We also have a decidedly different way of handling the reveal as we don’t get a huge exposition dump on the “why”. If you’re paying attention the reason the killer does the things he does is clearly laid out in earlier episodes, so by the time we get to the reveal it’s all about seeing who will survive his machinations.
Reason #3 Two Mysteries For The Price of One
One of the things I didn’t mention is The Chestnut Man, while focused on finding a serial killer, also has a subplot of a missing child named Kristine. The show does a fine job of keeping you invested in both crimes, and while any longtime fan of these types of thrillers will probably guess the two crimes are linked, it’s smartly crafted and the tension of whether or not Kristine will be found safe never lets up until the conclusion.
One thing I need to mention is there are themes of child abuse in this series and this may be triggering for some viewers so please be warned accordingly. Keeping in mind the moderate pacing and dark themes The Chestnut Man is a solid thriller that keeps you invested with its cliffhanger endings and enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes right up to its reveal. With solid acting, great chemistry between leads Danica Curcic and Mikkel Boe Golsgarrd as Naia Thulin and Mark Hess respectively, and just the right amount of blood and gore, put it all together and you’ve got yourself a series that is sure to please genre fans.
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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