The Substitute (Vikaren)
A new teacher takes over a classroom of 6th graders. Everything seems normal, except for the fact that the kids suspect she is from another planet.
The movie plays out a bit like The Faculty, only for a younger set. Now, I’m not saying this is a kids’ movie; it’s not that at all. It is just a movie with kids in it. It doesn’t have the blood and guts of some films, but there is no shortage of scares here. One in particular made even me jump.
Paprika Steen, who plays the teacher, is a large part of why this movie works. She is an almost sympathetic villain, where you don’t know if you should be for her or against her. It isn’t until a certain part early in the film when you finally find out which side you should be on and why.
The kids in the movie were great. They had a chemistry that reminded me of movies like The Goonies and The Monster Squad. While they may not be quite as memorable as those classics, they still are terrific. Even though these kids were supposed to be in the 6th grade, they showed more maturity than Shia Lebouff did in all the Transformers movies.
It is a fairly simple premise, but the execution is what makes it work. A charming little sci-fi horror gem.