Lords of Chaos (2019)


Direction: Jonas Akerlund
Country: UK/Sweden

This nauseating semi-fictionalized account, directed and co-written by Swedish Jonas Akerlund, is as dark and heavy as the Norwegian black metal scene of the early 90s that it makes reference to. The focus isn’t exclusively on the musical genre but also on the sinister happenings and practices that led to the homicide of Oystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth, co-founder of the band Mayhem. The film was adapted from the 1998 book of the same name and stars Rory Culkin as the cited guitarist, Emory Cohen as Varg Vikernes (founder of the one-man-band Burzum and Euronymous’ murderer), Jack Kilmer as the self-destructive Dead, and Valter Skarsgård as the homosexual-hater Faust.

There’s absolutely nothing interesting in the life of these satanic church burners; nothing valid or positive can be taken from their wild, yet miserable existence, which can be summarized as a mix of chaos, prepotency, and idiocy. Clearly pursuing fame through other forms that not just music, the members of this hidden ‘Black Circle’ had admitted: “we are not normal people”. I agree.


Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono was pointed out to direct the movie a few years ago. It would be his first English-language film, but knowing his ferocious work as I do, it’s hard to believe that his version could escape the super explicit and gratuitous violence shown here. In fact, Akerlund, who is a black metal drummer himself, seems only interested in shocking the viewer, whether through serial stabs or any other type of repugnant savagery. Lords of Chaos feels like a sick extravaganza rather than an accurate and substantial account of the story/case it claims to portray. To make everything more difficult, the ending is the dumbest part of the movie. Skip it.