Drowning Ghost

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Drowning Ghost
Drowning Ghost (film).jpg
Swedish DVD cover
Directed by Mikael Håfström
Produced byHans Lönnerheden
Written byLars Yngwe "Vasa" Johansson
Mikael Håfström
Starring Rebecka Hemse
Jesper Salén
Jenny Ulving
Music byAnders Ehlin
CinematographyPeter Mokrosinski
Edited byDarek Hodor
Greta Film AB
Nordisk Film Production
Moviola Film och Television AB
Distributed by Columbia TriStar Films AB
Release date
15 October 2004
Running time
100 minutes

Drowning Ghost (Swedish : Strandvaskaren) is a 2004 Swedish slasher film directed by Mikael Håfström and written by Lars Yngwe "Vasa" Johansson and Håfström. It stars Rebecka Hemse, Jesper Salén and Jenny Ulving.

Swedish language North Germanic language spoken in Sweden

Swedish is a North Germanic language spoken natively by 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden, and in parts of Finland, where it has equal legal standing with Finnish. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and to some extent with Danish, although the degree of mutual intelligibility is largely dependent on the dialect and accent of the speaker. Written Norwegian and Danish are usually more easily understood by Swedish speakers than the spoken languages, due to the differences in tone, accent and intonation. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It has the most speakers of the North Germanic languages. While being strongly related to its southern neighbour language German in vocabulary, the word order, grammatic system and pronunciation are vastly different.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund Strait. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. The capital city is Stockholm. Sweden has a total population of 10.3 million of which 2.5 million have a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi) and the highest urban concentration is in the central and southern half of the country.

A slasher film is a film in the subgenre of horror films involving a psychopath stalking and murdering a group of people, usually by use of bladed tools. Although the term "slasher" is often used informally as a generic term for any horror film involving murder, film analysts cite an established set of characteristics which set these films apart from other subgenres, such as splatter films and psychological horror films.



The movie opens at a boarding school, at the time of the big party before summer break. While most of the students are outside listening to the headmaster's speech one student, Rebecka, is seen showering and writing a letter before jumping off the school's tower to her death.

A year later the student Sara, who witnessed the suicide, is attending her final year at the school. Two new students, math genius Felix and diplomat son Leo, start to study at school. Sara and her friend Therese start to tell them of the local legend, Strandvaskaren (the Drowning Ghost). A century ago a farmer slaughtered three male students at the school before drowning himself in the nearby lake. He is believed to return once every year on the day of his death to haunt the school, and there is a tradition among the students to have a party at that day in the barn where the farmer once lived.

Sara finds out that the farmer killed the students to avenge the rape and murder of his daughter, but it was all covered up by the authorities because the rapists were upper class. At the party, Sara's former boyfriend Måns and his friend Ynge try to pull a prank on Sara, but the drunken Ynge tries to rape her. Sara pushes him away and runs away while Måns yells at Ynge for going too far. Sara runs out and finds Måns current girlfriend hanging dead in the hallway. Ynge goes to have some milk and is killed by a fork struck through his head. Måns find the hysterical Sara and tries to calm her down and apologize.

A masked man appears and rams an axe into Måns' head as Sara runs off. Sara locks in Leo into a storeroom and calls for Therese and Felix to help. Sara finds an 8 mm film in a box that had belonged to Rebecka, and discovers that Rebecka had a brother who has a weird similarity to Felix. Felix shows up and tells Sara that he and Rebecka were siblings. They were separated because their father was mentally unstable and put away. When Rebecka died, he swore to avenge her, dressed up as the Drowning Ghost, and started to kill the students who tormented Rebecka. He asks Sara to not say anything but believes she would any way and tries to kill her. Sara knocks him out and runs away with Therese. Therese falls into the well and breaks her leg. Sara climbs down after her. Morning comes and Felix awakens. He finds Sara and Therese, who are too afraid to call for help, in the well and climbs after them. Sara and Therese crawls down the pipe to the lake but Felix catches up with Therese and kills her off screen. Sara manages to reach the lake and escapes in a boat at the beach. She keeps her eyes on the pipe to see when Felix comes out of there, but falls asleep. When she awakens she has no idea how long she has been sleeping, and Felix is nowhere to be found. Felix tries to climb into the boat from underwater, but Sara cuts his hand by starting the boat engine. Felix tries to attack once more but Sara apparently kills him by bashing the anchor into his back. Felix sinks down to the bottom.

Sara is saved by the police and reunited with Leo on the beach; the police try to fish Felix up but instead find the farmer. Sara and Leo leave the boarding school and graduate at a school in Stockholm. During the graduation day eight months after the events, with all parents and friends of the many students present, Sara looks out over the sea of people and suddenly sees a sign with the words written in red paint "My beloved sister Rebecka". The film ends with Sara realizing that even though she cannot see him in the crowd Felix is still alive and amongst the people watching her and her classmates graduate.

Stockholm Capital of Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries; 972,647 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.6 million in the urban area, and 2.4 million in the metropolitan area. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Outside the city to the east, and along the coast, is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is also the county seat of Stockholm County.


Rebecka Hemse Swedish actress

Ingrid Rebecka Elisabet Hemse is a Swedish actress. She is best known for her role as Martin Beck's daughter Inger.

Nils Jesper Alexander Salén is a Swedish physician and former actor.

Jenny Ulving,, is a Swedish film and television actress. She started her career with the role of "Bella" in the soap opera Vänner och fiender which was broadcast on Kanal 5.


The film was shot at Filmhusateljéerna, Filmhuset in the Svenska Filminstitutet in Gärdet, Stockholm, Sweden.[ citation needed ]

Swedish Film Institute foundation

The Swedish Film Institute was founded in 1963 to support and develop the Swedish film industry. The institute is housed in the Filmhuset building located in Gärdet, Östermalm in Stockholm. The building, completed in 1970, was designed by architect Peter Celsing.

Gärdet urban district in central Stockholm

Gärdet is a part of Stockholm, east and northeast of Östermalm. Its official name is Ladugårdsgärdet. It is renowned for its large number of modernist apartments. Gärdet is one of the largest residential districts built in Stockholm during the 1930s, built from 1929 until around 1950, and houses about 10,000 people.


The film premiered on 13 May 2004 as part of the Cannes Film Market. Strandvaskaren had a 15+ age limit when shown in cinemas in Sweden on the premiere on 15 October 2004. The film was released Drowning Ghost on 22 August 2004 at Screamfest Horror Film Festival. [1]

Screamfest Horror Film Festival annual film festival held in Los Angeles, USA

Screamfest Horror Film Festival is a horror film festival in the United States that was founded by Rachel Belofsky and Ross Martin in 2001. The festival runs over ten days during the month of October and is hosted at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, California. In 2015 Screamfest celebrated its fifteenth anniversary and has been credited as being the largest and most long running horror film festival in the United States. The 2016 Screamfest was from October 18 through the 27.


Drowning Ghost received some criticism for being too similar to Halloween and the Friday the 13th films. [2] In his review, Nils Nordgren stated "and just where are we one of the beach bags's biggest problems: the script. It's sprawling, full of incredible and senseless incident. The fact that Anders Ehlin's music in the film's opening is a plagiarism of John Carpenter's famous piano loop in Halloween makes it painfully direct." [3]

<i>Halloween</i> (1978 film) 1978 film by John Carpenter

Halloween is a 1978 American slasher film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The plot tells about a mental patient who was committed to a sanitarium for murdering his teenage sister on Halloween night. Fifteen years later, he escapes and returns to his hometown, where he stalks a female babysitter and her friends, while under pursuit by his psychiatrist.

<i>Friday the 13th</i> (franchise) American horror franchise

Friday the 13th is an American horror franchise that comprises twelve slasher films, a television show, novels, comic books, video games, and tie‑in merchandise. The franchise mainly focuses on the fictional character Jason Voorhees, who drowned as a boy at Camp Crystal Lake due to the negligence of the camp staff. Decades later, the lake is rumored to be "cursed" and is the setting for a series of mass murders. Jason is featured in all of the films, as either the killer or the motivation for the killings. The original film, created to cash in on the success of Halloween (1978), was written by Victor Miller and was produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham. The films have grossed over $529 million at the box-office worldwide. It was the highest-grossing horror franchise in the world until the release of Halloween (2018), putting that franchise in the top spot.

John Carpenter American film director, screenwriter, producer and composer

John Howard Carpenter is an American filmmaker, screenwriter and composer. Although Carpenter has worked with various movie genres, he is associated most commonly with horror, action, and science fiction films of the 1970s and 1980s.


Strandvaskaren won awards for best director and best soundtrack of the year at the Screamfest Los Angeles Horror Film Festival. [4]

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  1. Evil Dread - Drowning Ghost (Strandvaskaren) 2004 movie review Archived December 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Drowning Ghost (2004) - Fantasy FilmFest Archiv". F3a.net. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  3. rating: 2 / 6, Nils Nordgren in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet October 15, 2004
  4. Nekoneko's Movie Litterbox!! » Blog Archive » “Strandvaskaren” aka Drowning Ghost Archived 2010-09-23 at the Wayback Machine