Starring: Michael Cera, Juno Temple, Emily Browning
Directed by: Sebastián Silva
Written By: Sebastián Silva
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 37 min
This film uses the Chilean landscapes and seaside to great moody affect and the ominous music and sound effects are really good at creating a worrying mood of nervous dread. Creaky houses and whispers in the dark are always used to good effect in horrors and the great outdoors and wildlife can also be thrown in here; there are abandoned puppies, a dead bird, an overly horny sheepdog and a slaughtered goat. If you’ve been in a situation where you are surrounded by people talking a language you don’t understand you will appreciate the paranoia it can cause and this film puts this to good use. There is good editing and good use of creepy slow motion too. Micheal Cera is refreshingly annoying and plays a loud nerdy cocky idiot. Emily Browning isn’t given much to do other than pat her cousin on the shoulder so is wasted here. With a more and more stricken and paranoid lead Juno Temple here becomes more and more alarmed and a bag of nerves. Sadly our nerves and patience are also drawn out to snapping point as we realize (SPOILER) this isn’t a horror movie at all – this girl has mental issues. It’s not the people and surrounding that threaten her – it’s her own sanity that seems to be ready to tip into proper crazy hysteria. All the atmosphere the film creates is for nought as this film doesn’t go anywhere, it’s a wet firework, a dud. Sadly it’s one of those films where at the end you want to stand up and shout “Is that it!? Surely it can’t end there!? What a crap ending!” Well I won’t spoil the end but it takes you somewhere surprising, and not welcome. Maybe it’s a great display and accurate display of mental illness but it explains nothing and only shows us someone unwinding from reality. All the tension and paranoia are wasted when we realize no one is out to get her and she’s, well a loon. It feels pointless as we have to hang out with an uncomfortable situation and not particularly pleasant people. The end credits are the only time there’s levity as the music brightens and the visuals are really nice. It doesn’t seem connected to what we just witnessed and we can only stare incredulously as we wait for the film to return and show us a definite outcome. It doesn’t and I felt manipulated and wound up. Good film making put to misuse. Unfortunately the film just feels like a build up to nothing. Someone slowly looses the plot, there’s no explanation and an ugly abrupt ending. It’s almost like the film-maker got fed up of the film as being depressing and decided they should stop.
An unnerving film that broods and lingers uncertainly in a remote holiday home. Odd things seem to be happening.. If you like being put on the edge of you seat and wonder where the film is going– it’s good, for atmosphere, at least.
A regular dvd or streaming show will do.
Best moment for me: << spoiler >>
The end credits and music – simply because they feel nice and warm, the opposite to the rest of this gloomy disappointment.