The Valhalla Murders is an Icelandic language mystery thriller on Netflix. It’s an outstanding mystery series, full of suspense and interesting characters.
The Valhalla Murders bears a strong resemblance plot-wise to the 3 series Welsh drama Hinterland, which I reviewed here. The idea is similar but the execution is different. It doesn’t take 3 years of keeping the fine points in mind. You get all 8 episodes in one release with The Valhalla Murders. All 8 of the episodes deal with this one case.
Kata (Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir) is called to investigate a murder. It’s unusual because there were multiple stab wounds and the victims eyes were mutilated.
Kata gets passed over for a promotion that very afternoon. Then she is informed that a cop from Norway, Arnar (Björn Thors), is being called in to assist her with the case.
Soon other bodies with similar styles of murder are found. Iceland goes nuts over the idea of a serial killer, previously unheard of there.
The setting is stunning, with many aerial shots. The world is all snow, striped with black ribbons of roadways. Kata scampers around in all that snow in a thin sweater and a short leather jacket. Brrr!
The development of the police work is flawless. It’s a slow accumulation of facts based on the hard work of Kata, Arnar and their excellent team. There are no red herrings or misdirections. It’s a straightforward crimesolving story. They learn how the murders are related. There was a boys’ school involved. It closed 30 years ago, but the people who worked there are the ones being murdered.
By episode 5, they think they’ve figured it out. But there’s more to it, as they find out. The closer they get to the answer, the more dangerous it is for everyone. The climactic scenes in the final episode are very exciting.
Both of the main characters have complicated private lives.
Kata is divorced with a 16 year old son. Her mother is living with her temporarily. The extra time the murders require comes just at a time when there’s a serious problem at home with her son. She is very stressed and worried about her son while trying to act normal at work. It doesn’t always work.
Arnar is native to Iceland. The police commissioner who brought him back to work on the case, Magnús (Sigurður Skúlason), is a close friend. Arnar’s father is dying. His sister Laufey (Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir) keeps reaching out to him secretly about it. Their father and Laufey’s husband are clergy in a church that Arnar rejects. Laufey’s husband prevents her from seeing Arnar or from letting him attend the funeral when their father dies.
I did have some trouble with scenes that were filmed in dark places – basements, deserted power plants. Often there wasn’t enough light in a scene to see what was happening. But I have no complaints at all about the writing or acting in this series.
Check out the trailer.
If you enjoy a good mystery, I think you’ll like The Valhalla Murders.