“The Conference,” based on Mats Strandberg’s novel, brings a fresh perspective to the classic slasher genre. It draws inspiration from traditional slasher films but introduces innovative elements that elevate the viewing experience. The film centers around a group of municipal employees who, despite their differences, find themselves in a life-or-death situation. This unique choice of protagonists sets the film apart from conventional slasher narratives.
Set in the town of Kolärangen, the story revolves around the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kolärangen mall. The group is led by the boss Ingela, Project Leader Jonas, returning employee Lina, and newcomer Nadja, among others. While not everyone shares Jonas’s enthusiasm for the shopping center, the group embarks on what is officially termed a “Professional Development Training,” a thinly veiled excuse for a taxpayer-funded holiday.
Tensions rise as the group debates a divisive commercial, revealing deeper conflicts regarding the project. Lina’s discovery of forged documents intensifies the situation, exposing Jonas’s unethical dealings with the company Backman-Kroon. The atmosphere becomes even more charged when a deadly killer starts targeting resort employees.
As the group faces the threat of the masked murderer, alliances shift, and survival instincts kick in. Kaj and Ingela become early victims, and the group splinters in a desperate bid for safety. Lina, injured and armed with incriminating evidence, manages to escape with Amir. However, the killer’s identity remains a mystery, leading to suspense and suspicion among the remaining survivors.
The revelation of the true killer, Pålsson’s son, adds a layer of complexity to the narrative. With a motive rooted in revenge for the land dispute, he becomes the focus of the group’s struggle for survival. In a thrilling climax, Nadja steps up to save her colleagues, ultimately dispatching the masked assailant with a golden shovel.
In the end, only Lina, Nadja, Eva, and Tobrbjörn survive the harrowing ordeal. The film defies slasher conventions by allowing the dysfunctional group to unite against a common enemy, showcasing their resilience in the face of danger.
“The Conference” not only delivers intense horror and suspense but also offers a thought-provoking commentary on ethics and survival. Its unexpected twists and dynamic characters make it a standout entry in the slasher genre, proving that innovation can breathe new life into established storytelling tropes.