Grinchmas 2023 · Horrorthon365 · Microreview · Movies

Grinchmas 2023: ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Is an Unlikely but Fitting Christmas Series

It’s Christmas on the day that journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist/Daniel Craig) gets sentenced for a jail stint for libel, which makes both the original Swedish ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ and David Fincher’s English-language remake a Christmas movie in my twisted horror-loving book.

The 2009 six-part Swedish ‘Millenium’ miniseries is a beautifully faithful adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s original three books, ‘Dragon Tattoo,’ ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire,’ and ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,’ starring Noomi Rapace as the ultimate pansexual hacker badass Lisbeth Salander. In Swedish, the first book is actually titled “Men Who Hate Women,” and this theme of misogyny is the overarching impetus behind every single crime that this series uncovers and explores. Beginning with the mystery of Harriet Vanger, a young woman who went missing decades ago — presumed dead — and her twisted family secrets that Lisbeth and Mikael Blomqvist work to uncover in ‘Dragon Tattoo.’ In fact through these novels and his journalistic work, Stieg Larsson himself predicted many of our current political predicaments, including the rise of Nazism globally, before his death.

I’ve seen the original series and Neil Arden Oplev’s extended director’s cuts enough times that I actually started to think I understood Swedish, and not that I was on the road to memorizing the subtitles. The ‘Milenium’ trilogy is part horror story, part rape revenge, and part family drama, all shaped by Swedish political and historical intrigue on a number of levels that continue to resonate over a decade since this miniseries hit the small
screen. It’s actually kind of hard to believe that this is a TV series, and has never had a theatrical release. The films are absolutely cinematic in acting, theme, and production, and is a perfect almost 7-hour event for folks who aren’t interested in saccharine holiday film fair. The extra 1.5-hour director’s cut is even better than the televised version. Lisbeth Salander is EVERYTHING.

✨Wasp/5 stars. Cannot recommend this series enough, but stick with the originals; Larsson’s ghostwriter sucks and doesn’t understand Lisbeth even a little, making the new films absolutely garbage.✨

PS: For more on Stieg Larsson’s political “prophecies,” here you go.

And I also wrote a love letter to my lady Lisbeth, one of the most iconic women characters of all time.

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Zuzu Zombie’s #Horrorthon365 project is a collection of eclectic genre watchlists with accompanying microreviews to suit the changing seasons. Horrorthon365 was sparked by a gnarly hand injury and carpal tunnel surgery gone awry, hence the flash-style reviews. After a wicked fall at home and brutal elbow fracture that required surgery, posts will be sporadic until I’m healed. In the meantime, browse the entire collection here