Cast/Crew: Venezuelan horror-suspense film by Alejandro Hidalgo.
Plot: Elderly Dulce, after being transferred from jail to house-arrest, returns to her house 30 years after her husband was murdered and her child was taken. The first scene shows the night of the incident: finding her husband stabbed and dying, and her child (Leopoldo) literally taken into the darkness.
Thoughts on the film:
• No, not House at the End of the Street with Jennifer Lawrence!
• The film takes place in two timelines, both in the house: in 1981, the night of the murder/disappearance, and 2011, when she returns home. As the film progresses they cut between the two more quickly, to tell the tale of the house, explaining the odd occurances. So it’s kind of like Oculus. There’s a really lovely development that ties the two together and goes with it.
• Something always apparent to me watching foreign films (well not Japanese, but European and South American films) is the vastly different portrayal of the family dynamic – the focus on a loving family; a warm, honest and caring bond, rather than the stereotypical passive-aggressive dysfunctional American family. You see it again here. They spend more time with Ducle’s children showing them playing and being children, so when the characters hug you feel it’s genuine.
• So the story is her readjusting to living in the house, and being (apparently) haunted by ghosts/intruders whilst under house-arrest in her home.
• Upon her return, a priest comes to visit, trying to understand the crime (eager to believe she’s innocent) and get her to renew her faith. It makes more sense by the end that he specifically wants to help this lady, but through the film I thought ‘what’s the point investigating this after 30 years in prison?!’. Also, a convicted life sentence seems a bit rough, considering the last owners mysteriously vanished, as did Dulce’s son.
• The same actress (Ruddy Rodríguez) plays middle-aged and elderly Dulce. I never like seeing younger people play much older, frail people in a serious role. They physically move too well, not rigid enough, their eyes are too bright & energetic than an actual old person. It breaks kayfabe!
• Someone/something trying to open a locked door, jiggling the handle and banging the door is frightening! Especially if whatever it is opens the door. Great anticipation, intriguing situation and satisfying explanation.
• I thought the father was given a rough time (scolded for failing to provide) at the start but I was proven really wrong with that one! He’s scum!
I’ll need to drop massive spoilers to continue the conversation, consider yourself pre-warned and warned!
• So it turns out that ‘Old’ Dulce was inadvertently haunting ‘Young’ Dulce, as they’re in the same house but different time periods. I loved how they tied past and present together. This type of ‘replay the same moment twice and find out what really happened’ is winner. The time dilation happens with their sons as well – After one of them had died, seeing ‘future’ Leo hug his little brother was so heart-warming, as was Old Dulce hugging her son, whom she hadn’t seen in 30 years.
• It sounds corny, but the story in the end is an amazing act of love. Bringing the child through time to medically treat their heart condition (the father died in his 30s) meant sacrificing 30 years of not knowing why you were falsely imprisoned, and losing your husband and son in the process. She’s faced with the decision again and does so, which is an incredible sacrifice.
• I know ‘time’ is in the title of the film but I didn’t expect to have such an involved story about time travel.
Overall I enjoyed it, a fun and interesting tale of a mysterious house with relative time dilation in an amazingly compressed space! Seriously; the family dynamic, the suspense, horror, and sci-fi aspect made it compelling viewing. If this sounds half-way interesting, go watch it and lemme know!