Imagine there being an awesome and authentic Viking epic wherein two Norsemen are stranded in what will someday become America. Now imagine that such a film would be lush with beautiful scenery shot in gorgeous CinemaScope. Imagine further that the movie would contain a rich 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track where the entire cast speaks the language of the time and the music is nothing but modern heavy metal.
Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Well, try to contain your excitement — for I have come to tell you that you’re just going to have to keep on imagining for such a film since Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery Of America isn’t it.
In fact, it’s a complete flat-out a waste of time. While some of the majestic New England and Canadian scenery featured in this film is indeed beautiful, the fact that the whole movie was filmed with a video camera and then matted really takes a lot of the effect away. Actually, it takes all of the effect away. Furthermore, the lucky schmuck that drew the straw to photograph this film must have been smoking crack in order to combat his Parkinson’s Disease. The dialogue was originally recorded in modern English — with modern lingo and expletives included — by the (ahem) “actors” who play in the film and then dubbed over (badly) in Old Norse with the modern lingo and expletives intact. The riveting heavy metal soundtrack only gets cued up every once and a while, only to be switched off shortly thereafter.
At times, I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a serious adventure (oh, by the way, there is no action in this film) or a very subtle comedy made by a couple of New England metal-heads that had a thing for Vikings. For the most part, it’s all played straight — and then there’s an off-center moment wherein the titles announce Chapter II (oh, it’s split into chapters like a book, too — giving an even bigger YouTube feel) and one of the characters is seen standing atop of their makeshift shelter, banging his head to the offscreen music.