Lords of Chaos

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"Based on truth and lies"
  • R
  • 2019
  • 1 hr 58 min
  • 6.6  (18,447)
  • 48

Lords of Chaos is a 2018 biographical drama horror film directed by Jonas Åkerlund. The movie is based on true events that took place in the Norwegian black metal scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The film follows the story of how a group of young and idealistic musicians gave birth to a genre and a culture that went on to become a global phenomenon, but also became entangled in a web of violence, betrayal, and tragedy.

The film stars Rory Culkin as Øystein Aarseth (better known by his stage name Euronymous), the founder of the band Mayhem, Emory Cohen as Kristian Vikernes (aka Varg Vikernes), a fellow musician who becomes Euronymous' frenemy, and Jack Kilmer as Pelle "Dead" Ohlin, Mayhem's singer who commits suicide.

The movie is not a straightforward biopic but an impressionistic and stylized retelling of the events, often veering into surreal and fantastical territory. The movie is not for the faint of heart, as it depicts graphically violent and disturbing scenes of self-mutilation, animal sacrifice, and murder.

The movie begins with a disclaimer that states that it is based on truth, lies, and what actually happened. The first scene introduces us to Euronymous, a teenage metalhead who runs a record shop in Oslo called Helvete (Norwegian for "Hell"). Euronymous is a charismatic and provocative figure who promotes a "Satanic" and "anti-Christian" ideology that he claims to take to the extreme.

Pelle "Dead" Ohlin, a Swedish vocalist with a history of self-harm and depression, joins Mayhem, and his arrival marks a turning point in the band's ethos. Dead introduces a more macabre and morbid element to the band's image, wearing corpse paint and performing with pig's heads on spikes.

However, Dead's mental state deteriorates, and he isolates himself from the rest of the band. In a scene that is both tragic and grotesque, Dead commits suicide by shooting himself in the head and slitting his wrists.

Euronymous finds Dead's body and takes a picture of it, later using it as the cover art for Mayhem's album "Dawn of the Black Hearts." Kristian Vikernes (aka Varg Vikernes), a young musician from Bergen with an affinity for Nordic paganism and far-right politics, joins the scene and becomes Euronymous' protégé.

The film portrays the relationship between Euronymous and Vikernes as a volatile and competitive one, with each trying to outdo the other in terms of shock value and ideology. Vikernes releases a solo album under the name Burzum and starts spreading his extremist views, leading Euronymous to distance himself from him.

The tension between the two comes to a head when Vikernes murders Euronymous in his apartment in August 1993. The film depicts the murder in a surreal and operatic manner, with flashes of lightning and a choir of angels singing a requiem.

The last act of the movie deals with the aftermath of the murder, Vikernes' trial, and the media circus that surrounded the Norwegian black metal scene. The film ends with a quote from Euronymous' suicide note, in which he proclaims that he has achieved his goal of being "a true Satan."

Lords of Chaos has been a polarizing movie, with some praising its bold and uncompromising approach, while others criticizing it for glamorizing and sensationalizing the violence and extremism of the scene. However, the movie has sparked a renewed interest in the Norwegian black metal scene and its legacy, and has brought attention to the complex and often contradictory motivations of its protagonists.

Lords of Chaos is a 2019 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 48.

Lords of Chaos
Where to Watch Lords of Chaos
Lords of Chaos is available to watch free on Plex. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Lords of Chaos for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 58 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (18,447)
  • Metascore