The Guy in the Grave Next Door ★★

Making a simple romance to fit the supposedly more down-to-earth people in the sticks isn't a bad idea and should really fit Kjell Sundvall. The first meet-cute at a cemetary with clumsy dialogue and instant childish crushes are sympathetic and the tackiest soundtrack that spoils any hint of emotion in every scene. It really is a somewhat more real romance than you expect from a romantic movie, which is probably the intention.

The movie also has some useful themes about urbanization and gender that feel relevant. Sundvall's The Hunters was a revelation by telling a story from a perspective far from Stockholm. This movie builds on that perspective, but ends up failing to connect because of a couple of key factors.

The most important is that none of the actors actually sound like locals. In The Hunters the one guy from Stockholm felt like an outsider because everybody else were actually from up north. In this movie they are all Stockholmers pretending to be farmers. Mikael Nyqvist is great at acting his character, but he can't get all the way into it.

The other failure is partly tied to that; the location is entirely non-specific. It was shot mostly way up north, but there are no references to where it takes place and with all the people speaking a non-specific dialect you can't guess. Even the landscapes and cityscapes are selected in a way that it could be any small town in the entire country. To make it a representation of everywhere makes it less personal, which is a waste for someone like Kjell Sundvall who has such strong connections to a particular part of the country.