The Substitute - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Substitute Reviews

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December 1, 2014
I saw The Substitute last night on TV. It is an absorbing horror movie that is able to make you feel the thrills and fear, without pouring a lot of ketchup or sawing bones. The film is educational and entertaining for kids and adults alike. It is about love and power and human relationships -- the eternal subject matters which, if done right, feel genuine but, if not done right, come across fake. This movie works. I never once used the fast forward button as I'm used to doing with many bad horror movies. Ole Bornedal did a great job in presenting the meaning of love, even though it has to come by way of a horror move involving aliens and sixth-grade teachers.
October 15, 2014
great little quirkfest of a film. lots of interesting visuals. great kid actors. great tension. plenty of fun.
January 30, 2013
when I saw the preview I didn't really liked the way it looked. I gave the movie a try and it was actually really good. Love the chicken eating scene!! The kids were really cool. It was actually good.
½ September 2, 2012
Comedic coming-of-age story with a sci-fi twist.
Enjoyably offbeat film from Denmark that should be watched in its original form since the english language dub is horribly laughable.
½ July 7, 2012
A little bit strange, but quite enjoyable.
½ July 1, 2012
On a distant planet that knows only war, a visitor arrives on Earth seeking the one thing they lack...love.
Ok, as an opening dialogue for the movie it sounds awful and had me reaching for the sick bag. Fortunately all it took was a the sight of a chicken being flattened (well hit by a sphere from space) and I decided to stick with it.
The easiest way to describe this film is as a Danish version of The Faculty. Although the only real comparison is the whole 'our teacher is an alien' story but otherwise the 2 movies differ quite a bit.
The tone of this movie is completely different and seemed a lot darker despite some humorous moments and I found myself enjoying this quite a bit.
It is hard to tell what market this film is being aimed at though. The kids in the film look to be around 11 years old and it seems as though it is being aimed at the younger market but in the version I watched the subtitles were a little disjointed and even though no foul language was printed, it was obvious when 1 of the kids dropped an f-bomb. Which to me, suggests that it's aimed at an older audience. I just don't think it has enough going for it to keep an older viewer interested.
The movie started well but just fizzled out in the last 15-20 minutes which was a shame. So all in all it's an ok film, that is worth a watch but not really an essential purchase.
½ June 12, 2012
I had actually seen The Substitute (Vikaren) a few years back but Flixster messed it up in making two different titles for it. They fixed the problem and my original review was dropped (no big loss, it was about three sentences long). So, I the time to watch The Substitute again and it's still just as great as when I first saw it. First off, it carried some pretty deep themes with love and loss being the most prominent. It touched my dead heart and I cogitations into this one's fleshed out story and deep themes. Not relying on being totally depressing, the film also had a knack for being funny with circumstantial and spoken humor being very witty and not affecting the movie's tone. The film is filled with fearful scenarios and crazy situations that didn't need excessive violence or adult humor. That's definitely more my taste but who knew? I loved how it worked here! Lastly, the film put a subtle social commentary in there with the human condition and parent/children relationships being the biggest ones. All of it worked. Ole Bornedal kept it as stylish and creative as his other efforts (or should I say the only other flick I've ever seen of his 'Nightwatch') and the somber, subtle approach suited the flick perfectly. Paprika Steen was incredible in the title role. She was scary, funny and her knack for changing expressions in a snap wowed me. Ulrich Thomsen downplayed it and was very realistic. Jonas Wandschneider was terrific as the broody Karl. I wanted to buy him a beer and be his buddy and he played a sixth grader! It should be said that the entire kid cast were all awesome as they were non-annoying and shared great chemistry. Add to all this neat little subtle hints as to what's going on throughout. Some GREAT visual effects and an entrancing score backing it up (by the great Marco Beltrami no less) and you get a great Substitute. On the slim downside, there were a few plot nips that didn't make sense to me (I didn't really get the psychic thing, how it worked one minute then not the next) but it wasn't a huge deal. The only other thing is the choppy editing that was artsy at first, but then annoyed me real fast. It was especially prominent in it's last block where a certain character would show up out of nowhere in a different part of the set. Did they forget to film the actor walking over or just run out of time? Overall, this was a great kid's story with thought-provoking themes and aliens, that can work for a freaky family movie night (not kidding... youngsters in the double digit age could definitely watch this). I'll gladly see this again soon!
½ May 30, 2012
Creepy and unnerving, enough to make you want to try home school
May 30, 2012
Entertaining movie that also looks fairly good but doesn't have much to say.
May 30, 2012
"I will not be charmed by this garbage."
Now write it 100 times on the board!
"These creatures know nothing of love."
(and they hate the audience too)
Pretentious, predictable, a waste of film.
My horror was found in it's simplicity and seriously bad dubbing.
Full of young girls and boys with voices like 30 year old ladies.
This marks the glaring inferiority of "Ghost House" compared to "After Dark".
May 30, 2012
This movie had so much promise, but laid a big fat alien egg (if you see the movie, you'll get the pun). The lead woman was great at times, with her "pencil tapping" and her kitchen inquisition, but overall there was only about 25 minutes worth watching, and the ending was ... well we just turned it off with 5 minutes left. Yep, it was that painful.
May 30, 2012
It's worse than a boring class!
Naughtia
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2012
This movie was ok and pretty creepy at times, this is definetely not a childrens movie. This is a Danish movie about a 6th grade class who gets a new substitute teacher as their old teacher has got sick. She shows some weird and evil sides alread from the beginning and the children are afraid. When she wants to take the class to Paris the children begin to panic because they don't want to be taken away by her. The parents of course don't believe the children when they try to reveal her.
May 30, 2012
A unique film from Denmark. Several Weird & odd shots--the concept is different but at the same time familar. Lots of moments of cheese and humor. Over all a fun film if you are open minded and are looking for somethng fun and different definately recommended.
May 30, 2012
This was sort of a horror movie for kids. It's pretty well-made and all, but I've seen better danish childrens movies (yeah, in Denmark this one marketed as a childrens movie).
May 30, 2012
(***): Thumbs Up

A fun and entertaining flick.
May 30, 2012
What a strange film, it's so oddly fascinating. Very eerie atmosphere and a very good score. The acting is respectable, but no one is exceptional. Creepy.
May 30, 2012
Danish kid's movie with some sci-fi and horror elements. Not bad. Some funny scenes.
½ May 30, 2012
This movie was ok and pretty creepy at times, this is definetely not a childrens movie. This is a Danish movie about a 6th grade class who gets a new substitute teacher as their old teacher has got sick. She shows some weird and evil sides alread from the beginning and the children are afraid. When she wants to take the class to Paris the children begin to panic because they don't want to be taken away by her. The parents of course don't believe the children when they try to reveal her.
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