“The story of a woman who is slowly losing her sight whilst trying to investigate the mysterious death of her twin sister.” — IMDb
I stumbled upon this movie by complete accident when I was browsing on Shudder (which I highly recommend for any of you horror fans) and I was so pleasantly surprised. You’re immediately intrigued by and invested in the movie and I thought it kept up with some really great pacing and suspense throughout.
The basic plot… Julia (Belén Rueda) senses something is amiss with her twin sister, Sara, who has recently gone blind due to a degenerative eye disease that they both suffer from. Upon investigation she finds Sara hanged in her basement, but she suspects (and we know from the opening scene) something a bit more sinister is afoot, so she takes it upon herself to investigate.
I thought the sense of isolation, dread, and claustrophobia simply because of Julia going blind was brilliant. They made sure to occasionally show how things looked from her perspective, and the pairing of the world collapsing in on her both in the actions of those around her and in her own body is amazing. What she was going through was scary enough, but knowing that her world is getting darker by the day just added a whole other layer of terror.
I am usually not a huge fan of too much romance in horror movies — I know, I’m cold hearted — but I thought the relationship between her and Isaac (Lluís Homar) was actually very sweet (to the point where I teared up during the scene where she says goodbye to him).
There were a few truly chilling moments, like the hand on her shoulder when she’s standing at her sister’s casket. The director, Guillem Morales, was good at evoking fear from pretty simple circumstances — there were no over-the-top effects, barely any gore, and he mostly stayed away from any gratuitous sexuality (aside from showing lingering shots of Rueda’s cleavage every 10 minutes).
Once Julia is fully blind and starts to be cared for by Ivan (Pablo Derqui), shit starts to get REALLY creepy. Him testing her blindness with the tip of his knife, pretending to talk on the phone while she stands by, showing her the body of the real Ivan in the freezer to illicit a reaction from her… whew. Good stuff.
“That’s the man you’re looking for. A silence. A void. An absence.”
The twist with Soledad (Julia Gutiérrez Caba) was pretty awesome, and the entire scene with Julia and “Ivan” both stumbling through the pitch dark house with the camera flash firing every few seconds was just heart pounding. When the police finally arrive and he slits his throat after begging them to stop looking at him… damn. DAMN.
I’ve said it before, but movies that are about real people are some of the scariest to me. Not monsters, not spirits, not demons in the traditional sense… but real human beings who are driven to do depraved things are the scariest because it could happen to anyone, any time. This movie wasn’t perfect as far as the plot went but I thought it was an amazingly suspenseful endeavor, and much more intelligent and creative than horror is often given credit for.