The Snowman is a 2017 British psychological crime horror film, directed by Tomas Alfredson and written by Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan and Søren Sveistrup, and based on the novel of the same name by Jo Nesbø. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, and J. K. Simmons, and follows a detective who tries to find a killer who uses snowmen as his calling card.
At a remote cabin amidst heavy snowfall, a brutal man named Jonas confronts his lover about their illegitimate son who leaves the house and builds a snowman. The woman threatens to tell Jonas' family about the child, and Jonas leaves angrily in his car. The woman and her son pursue him, but lose him in the snow. She lets go of the steering wheel, causing the car to drive off the road onto a frozen lake. The boy manages to escape from the sinking car, but the woman stays inside in an apparent suicide.
Harry Hole is a brilliant but troubled inspector with the Norwegian Police Service's Oslo district, struggling with the aftermath of his break-up with his girlfriend Rakel and her new relationship with Mathias, a renowned surgeon. Harry was very close to her son Oleg, who is unaware that Harry is his biological father. Oleg mentions, on an outing with Harry, that his mother (Rakel) refused to let him search for his father. Harry receives a mysterious letter signed with the drawing of a snowman, and is paired with a brilliant new recruit, Katrine Bratt. The two are assigned to a missing persons case of Birte Becker, who vanished from her house after being followed home by a red Volvo.
The police receive a report of another missing woman named Sylvia Otterson. When Harry and Katrine travel to her farmhouse to investigate, they find her alive and well. They brush the report off as a prank call and leave, but shortly thereafter a figure wearing a black ski mask stalks and kills Sylvia outside her house, using a wire fastening harness to decapitate her. Harry receives another call about Otterson, and returning to the farmhouse comes face-to-face with her identical twin sister Ane. They search the property and find Sylvia's beheaded corpse inside her barn, and her head atop a snowman inside an empty storage tank.
Connecting the letter with the presence of a snowman at the crime scene of the murder with the snowman at the scene of the first woman's (Birte) disappearance, Harry's research leads him to a previous case in Bergen, involving a similar set of circumstances. He travels to meet the case's investigating officer Gert Rafto, but upon arrival learns that Rafto died eight years prior through what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that the case went cold after his apparent suicide. Inside Rafto's old cabin, he finds a jacket and a photograph that lead him to realize that Katrine is Rafto's daughter, and is likely out to find her father's real killer.
Katrine believes that Arve Støp, a business tycoon implicated in the earlier case, is behind her father's death. Støp is involved in a high-class prostitution ring overseen by Idar Vetelsen, a doctor working at a clinic all the current victims had visited. Birte's cell phone begins transmitting again, and the signal is traced to Vetelsen's house. When the police raid it, they find Vetelsen dead of a shotgun blast to the head, along with the remains of Birte and another victim named Hegen Dahl.
Katrine begins to seduce Støp at a fundraiser event, and he asks her to meet him in his hotel room. She sets a trap for him inside, but she is attacked and drugged by a masked figure who severs her right finger and uses it to unlock the biometric security measures on her work tablet, wiping all the data from it. The next morning, Harry sees the impression of a snowman atop his snow-covered car, and inside finds Katrine dead in the driver's seat.
Rakel tells Harry that Oleg has run away after Harry missed a school camping trip which he was supposed to have gone to. Oleg stays at a friend's house, and when Rakel arrives to tell Harry the two kiss and almost have sex. Mathias calls to tell Rakel that he is picking up Oleg to take him home. Upon returning home, Mathias drugs and ties up Rakel, then does the same to Oleg, taking both of them to a cottage in Telemark. Harry locates the cottage, where he finds that Mathias has Rakel and Oleg hostage with the cutter to Rakel's throat. Mathias is revealed as the boy at the start of the film, who grew to hate his mother due to her abandonment of him via her death. Harry attacks Mathias and manages to get the cutter off of Rakel's neck, losing a finger in the process. Mathias escapes and Harry gives pursuit, chasing him onto the ice. Mathias manages to shoot Harry, but the ice beneath Mathias' feet suddenly cracks and breaks apart, dropping him into the water below and dragging him to his watery grave. After having his injuries treated, Harry returns to the police precinct, and volunteers for a new homicide case.
- Michael Fassbender as Detective Harry Hole
- Rebecca Ferguson as Katrine Bratt
- Charlotte Gainsbourg as Rakel Fauke
- Val Kilmer as Gert Rafto
- J. K. Simmons as Arve Støp
- Toby Jones as Investigator Svenson
- David Dencik as Idar Vetlesen
- Ronan Vibert as DCI Gunnar Hagen
- Chloë Sevigny as Sylvia Ottersen/Ane Pedersen
- James D'Arcy as Filip Becker
- Genevieve O'Reilly as Birte Becker
- Peter Dalle as Jonas Lund-Helgesen
- Jamie Clayton as Edda
- Jakob Oftebro as Magnus Skarre
- Jonas Karlsson as Mathias Lund-Helgesen
- Silvia Busuioc as Beautiful Girl
- Michael Yates as Oleg Fauke-Gosev
- Alec Newman as Mould Man
- Jeté Laurence as Josephine Becker
According to Variety, the initial hope with the film to was to create a series in the vein of the Alex Cross film adaptations. Screen Rant has suggested that the film was inspired by the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
For a while, Martin Scorsese was attached to direct, although he dropped out in 2013. The next year, Tomas Alfredson was hired to direct. Prior to Alfredson, the studio had considered Morten Tyldum and Baltasar Kormákur, although they declined. By September 2015, Michael Fassbender was in talks to star in the film, and Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Gainsbourg were in talks to join the cast by that October and December, respectively.