Entertainment

Netflix's 'Katla' Is a Stunning Sci-Fi Series That Will Chill You to the Core

The streamer's first original series out of Iceland is an eerie must-watch.

Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix
Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix
Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix

The eerie new Netflix sci-fi series Katla drops viewers off in Vík, a real-life Icelandic village positioned dangerously close to the subglacial volcano the show is named for. Although Katla hasn’t actually erupted violently in more than a century, the premise here is that the volcano activated a year ago, imperiling the town and traumatizing the few residents who remain, while also somehow unleashing mind-boggling supernatural phenomena in the form of naked, ash-covered doppelgängers.

Created by Contraband and 2 Guns director Baltasar Kormákur, Katla pairs nicely with the captivating foreign Netflix original Dark; while the German time-travel series, which concluded after three seasons last year, is more complex, both shows create suspense through slow pacing and deeply intertwined storylines. The eight episodes follow Vík’s remaining residents, including Grima (played by Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð, a.k.a Icelandic singer GDRN), who remains tethered to the damn-near apocalyptic conditions of her hometown, despite the disappearance of her sister Ása (Íris Tanja Flygenring) during the eruption and the suicide of their mother in their childhood years. She works closely with the head of police, Gísli (Þorsteinn Bachmann), as a rescue worker, and quickly finds herself entrenched in the mystery affecting her village as the arriving changelings gradually unravel them mentally and cause them to confront their demons.

Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix
Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix
Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix

With such a chilling premise, it’s only fitting that Katla, Netflix’s first original out of Iceland, is shot on location on the south end of the island nation. The stark landscape of Vík is so vividly haunting, and the grim side effects of Katla’s recent activity-from the monstrous thunderstorm cloud that menacingly hovers over the subglacial volcano to the dangerous ash storms that threaten everything in their paths-are absolutely horrifying, making the inexplicable appearance of the ash-covered humanoids even more unsettling.

Katla‘s eeriness is also the byproduct of its sluggish tempo. For a show in which clones mysteriously appear near a dangerously active volcano, Katla resists the urge to rush things. To be fair, the changelings that are popping up on the glacier near Vík aren’t aliens, violent creatures picking off residents one by one, or any of the typical intimidating adversaries that prevail in the science fiction genre. As the changelings collide with Vík’s residents, their true nature and the reason for their bizarre emergence start to become clear. While the story might not culminate in the seismic reveal you might expect, given Katla‘s premise, the understated twist (which I won’t spoil here) has huge implications for the Icelandic series and ensures that Katla doesn’t cast aside its creepy and carefully crafted aesthetic for a feel-good ending.

Taking into account that the series closes with a cliffhanger, it’s unclear whether Kormákur envisioned Katla as a one-and-done or as the first chapter of an even bigger, mind-blowing story. Regardless, the artful and chilling sci-fi series absolutely stuns over the course of its eight episodes, and deservedly earns a slot on our list of the most compelling shows of the year.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.