Scandinavia SVOD service Viaplay is moving into the short-form horror genre with a YA series from French/Swedish crime drama Midnight Sun.
The platform, which is operated by Nordic Entertainment Group, has given a greenlight to Cryptid, a ten-part series of 22-minute episodes that centers on the idyllic lakeside town of Mörkstad, whose peaceful existence is suddenly shattered by a series of terrifying and unexplainable events.
The series is one of the most interesting concepts to emerge out of Europe since Norwegian teen drama Skam and is sure to draw the eye of U.S. producers.
The high-concept Swedish-language drama is based on an original pitch by graphic novelist Sylvain Runberg, and is being written by a writer’s room that includes YA novelist Anna Jakobsson Lund.
Mörkstad is a small town in the northern hemisphere near a beautiful lake. But there’s a dark side to Mörkstad’s idyllic image: an ancient legend claims that beneath the serene waters of the lake, evil lurks — a malign creature that sows chaos and fear, and feeds on young people’s angst. The story starts with the horrific and bizarre death of a high-school student, followed by a series of creepy and unexplainable events. A group of high schoolers must club together to try to find out who or what is behind their friend’s death. And the closer they get to the truth, the more they are drawn to the dark waters of the lake.
It is produced by Dramacorp, the Stockholm-based production company founded by Patrick Nebout in a joint venture with Jan Mojto’s Beta Film. Production stars in August in Finland and it will launch in early 2020. Nebout exec produces with Mia Sohlman (Blue Eyes), Fredrik Ljungberg with Hadis Jabbari (The Lawyer) producing. Daniel di Grado (Hidden) and David Berron (Black Lake) will direct the series.
Elsewhere, Dramacorp, the company is developing international thriller series The Head, in co-production with Spain’s Mediapro.
Nebout said, “Cryptid is our first foray into short-form production and the horror genre, so we thought we’d aim for another first in the process and create a new genre — Nordic Comic Noir, with a unique tone and look inspired by pop graphic novels. Cryptid is an elevated, sexy, scary coming-of-age thriller with a supernatural twist. We were drawn to it not only because it’s a clever, edgy horror series for a young-adult audience, but because it’s genuinely very different. The creative team is amazing and has one main guideline: in Cryptid’s universe, anything can happen. Nothing like this has ever been produced in Scandinavia, this is definitively not your typical Nordic Noir, so don’t expect the usual brown-grey shades and look. This show is a very colorful and scary ride. In fact, I’d go so far as to say there’s nothing like Cryptid anywhere.”