The Conference Parent Guide
The gore is as creative as it is abundant.
Parent Movie Review
Ingela’s (Maria Sid) team of corporate planners managed to finish their long-running proposals for a large-scale multipurpose shopping sprawl but tensions within the group are high. The proposal is broadly unpopular in the local area, and there have been some disputes within the group over the treatment of some of the farmers who lost land in the deal. To boost morale, Ingela has organized a team retreat to the future site of the shopping center. While the team bickers over details, Lina (Katia Winter) notices that some of the contracts in the file have changed since she signed them – meaning that someone has forged her signature to push the deal through. More concerningly, an unknown killer has started preying on the vexatious colleagues, leaving the survivors miles from help and unsure of what hunts them…
Corporate team building exercises might be one of the best possible settings for a slasher movie. Those “bonding” games are already insufferable, but they also tend to bring out the worst in people, in this case a deeply irritating group of morons. Slasher movies need to give you someone to root for - here it’s the killer, which might not be what parents consider a suitable perspective for their teens. Lina is also a reasonably likable character, but she doesn’t have much to do for most of the film, so you’re going to spend most of the time waiting to see who’s getting whacked next. I was impressed by the film’s editing, which was both visually interesting and communicative. It’s not just two hours of shot-reverse shot on characters chatting, broken up by gory murder scenes with harsh cuts every half-second, which seems to be the norm for horror flicks lately.
Of course, being a slasher film, The Conference doesn’t quite qualify as children’s entertainment. The gore is certainly creative – I can’t think of another movie where the killer just picks up an outboard motor and mulches someone with it. For genre fans, that’s considered a positive. For those of you who faint when you have to get a needle, it might be a little bit much. Or a lot.
In spite of my lack of enthusiasm going into the movie, I found myself appreciating its good pacing, gruesome creativity, and slick cinematography. The Conference isn’t going to become a cult classic anytime soon, but it’s a capable and entertaining film entry in the Spookiest Season of the Year. It’s not every day that a movie actually wins me over, and it was a close-run thing: The film definitely has some offbeats, jokes that don’t land, dialogue that made me want to tear my hair out – but on the balance, it’s a fun time. At least, if you think gruesome spree killing can be fun. I think the trick is to avoid being on the receiving end of those sharp garden implements.
Directed by Patrik Eklund. Starring Katia Winter, Eva Melander, Adam Lundgren. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release October 13, 2023. Updated October 14, 2023
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Conference rated TV-MA? The Conference is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for gore, language, smoking, violence.
Violence: People are stabbed, bludgeoned, strangled, hanged, impaled, crushed, slashed, decapitated, and scalped throughout the course of the film. A character is also radically dismembered with an outboard motor. A number of dead bodies, both human and animal, are seen. There is a depiction of suicide.
Sexual Content: A man’s backside is seen on two occasions in a non-sexual context.
Profanity: There are 63 sexual expletives, 10 scatological curses, and regular use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially and smoking cigarettes.
Page last updated October 14, 2023
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Another Nordic work trip gone awry can be found in Blasted. If you’re just here to watch people get radically dismembered in the woods, you’ve got plenty of options including Friday the 13th, Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight, Fear Street Part 2: 1978, Red Dot, Prey, Evil Dead, and Into the Earth.