This film has been on my to-see list for four years now. I have been avoiding it because of one simple reason, I read that is really scary. I don’t like being scared. Ever since I watched the Exorcist and Carrie on the same night when I was thirteen, I have avoided horror films like they are some kind of plague. I am trying now to rectify that, but I can only do that if my boyfriend is around. Thank Christ he was around during my viewing of this film or else I don’t think I would have gotten through it.
Backed by Guillermo Del Toro, this film was the type of horror that I wanted to watch more of. So with trepidation, I dived into it and I liked it. I would go so far to say that I liked it a lot. The story is about an orphan who grew up and adopted a child wants to move back to her old orphanage and start a house for special needs children. However, after the woman left the orphanage, a strange thing happened to the orphans and their spirits still lived on in the home and they haunt this woman and her child. Her child who is sick goes missing for months without any clue as to where he had gone. The woman slowly goes insane and thinks these spirits took her son from her. She then starts an investigation that leads to some fucked up events.
What I liked about this film is simple. I liked the lead character. The film ultimately takes her side and believes that she is not crazy, although everyone else in the film thinks so. She is a strong woman who just wants to find her son, n matter what it takes. The ensuing battles she has to endure wreck her stamina, but she still continues the search long after her husband and the police give up. She brings in mediums and she plays the games she used to play with the children in order to get them to come out. She is also played very well by Belen Rueda. If you read her biography on IMDB, you will learn that she lost a child about ten years ago, and you can tell that she brings those experiences back to the surface in order to play this mother. This provides an emotional truth for the character that is desperately needed in order to portray her right.
Another reason I sort of avoid modern horror films is because of the gore. I feel like sometimes it is too over the top and just plain gross. In this film, with the exception of her pulling out her nail in one scene, the gore is kept to a minimum. The suspense is mostly psychological which I respond to more than physical suspense (like a person actively chasing someone and you are yelling at the screen don’t go into that dead-end, you idiot). I think it is harder to pull off which is why so many psychological thrillers don’t work. But when they do, they become masterpieces. I think this film is a masterpiece. I know that is me being hyperbolic but I really do think that. When horror geeks in ten years look back at this time in cinema history, they will inevitably put this film on a to see list along with other horror classics. I am done talking this film up, just go see it.