Is it possible for a film to start with a bang but then end up completely blowing it by the credits? Terrified seems to confirm this theory. An Argentinean horror, the movie canvases a suburban block where house to house unexplainable and unbelievable phenomena are occurring.
I will try to do this as best I can without spoilers. Terrified‘s opener scare is one that truly catches you off guard. A typical spooky catalyst leads into an abrupt tone-setter. We move on to the follow-up act, almost too quickly, but apparently this movie had places to be. Poltergeist happenings confirmed with a camcorder. A startling ghoul. You know, the usual. This section is important, though. It segues into the other standout event: dead child.
The dead child is one of the only remaining things even the most robust horror films of today still shy away from. When every other possible avenue in the genre has been explored and/or exploited, what makes the dead child taboo persist? Terrified‘s lack of concern for the matter is glaring, shining a bright light on that extremely dark corner to chilling effect. It’s from this point on the quality of the film takes a nosedive.
Two investigators multiply, creating too many unneeded characters to have to care about. They all irresponsibly split up to individually investigate the haunted houses. At this juncture, I lost interest all together. I don’t get why after showing me the horrible things it did in the first half, Terrified expected me to chuckle along with these dopey sherlocks as they get bumped off unceremoniously. The notion that the final act might not have been intended to be humorous is an even more embarrassing possibility.
The send off reunites us with the first survivor introduced, in the customary asylum role, who ushers in the cliché jump scare cut-to-black. I am positive there is a way to chop this movie up and rearrange the pieces into a more flattering sequence. It wouldn’t be that challenging since the majority of the scenes could be chronologically flipped 1-for-1. The competence is already proven in the first act. There just needs to be someone more renowned in charge to craft Terrified into a better picture. Someone like Guillermo del Toro. What? He’s producing a remake of Terrified? Well, ain’t that a co-inky-dink!
2 tumultuous timelines out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2018)
Boy, this movie is a trip! Rioters in France go on the run and end up in a neo-Nazi bed and breakfast. They quickly wear out their welcome and become the subjects of torture at the hands of the sadistic innkeepers. Another fantastic entry in the “New French Extremity” movement. Frontier(s) masterfully showcases visceral horror, bombastic action, and unnerving psychology. Savage grit and stomach-turning situations are on full display here. Frontier(s) is an example of what captivating story and unique vision a foreign creation can offer. Pair-is Nice-ly with High Tension.
5 (s)’s out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2019)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld, The Silence of the Lambs) takes on the role of the titular subject in Hitchcock, the biopic exploring the off-camera life of the legendary suspense auteur. Hopkins was probably Hitchcocky when he went in to audition for the part, because I can’t imagine any other actor filling Alfred’s shoes. We get a glimpse at not only the behind the scenes of Hitchcock’s filmmaking process, but at his wife’s (Helen Mirren) influence on the man’s career and more importantly his personal life. Some questions are answered that aren’t typically asked when pondering the director’s legacy. Hitchcock isn’t Oscar-worthy in the acting or writing categories, but it is a time well spent, if only to break up the routine parade of slashers and ghost stories.
4 prolific, portly profile poses out of 5
PS It was far better than Will Smith’s attempt!