Nelly (Matilda Gross) is different, that much is clear from the opening scenes of Amanda Adolfsson’s Nelly Rapp: Monster Agent. In front of an audience of fellow school children, she stages an elaborate one-girl-play about monsters, garnering more screams of horror than applause as it comes to its gnarly conclusion. Despite her outsider status, and undeterred by her single father Lennart’s (Jens Ohlin) suggestion to at least pretend to be normal, her personality remains plucky and cheerful; with red hair, freckles and a mischievous expression on her face, Nelly clearly follows in the tradition of her fellow Swedish girl hero Pippi Longstocking.

While on holiday at her uncle Hannibal’s (Johan Rheborg) large and secluded villa, Nelly’s curiosity leads her to a discovery that delights rather than shocks her: the monsters of legend are real. Carefully curated for a younger audience, the film takes a sharp turn towards the horror genre, recalling such literary monsters as Dracula and Frankenstein’s creature. Nelly’s maternal lineage, it turns out, is filled with Monster Agents, tasked to keep humans safe from the threats these monsters pose. Eager to prove herself worthy of being such an agent herself, Nelly sets out to catch a monster – but finds out they might not be so dangerous after all.

Sofie Forsman’s script is full of humour that will appeal to adults just as much (or more so) than it does to children. Beyond the levity, serious issues of otherness and acceptance are broached. Ultimately, love and friendship can win over the fear of monsters, as Nelly campaigns for a more inclusive society.

Both delightfully quirky and laugh-out-loud funny, Nelly Rapp is a joyful romp for an audience of all ages. Bringing a Scandinavian freshness to age-old tropes, this is a worthy addition to the canon of monster films.



CAST: Matilda Gross, Lily Wahlsteen, Marianne Mörck, Johan Rheborg, Björn Gustafsson, Jens Ohlin

DIRECTOR: Amanda Adolfsson

WRITER: Sofie Forsman

SYNOPSIS: Nelly and her dog London are about to spend autumn break with her uncle Hannibal. Soon she noticed that he doesn’t live a quiet life: her uncle is a Monster agent.