This horror film is remarkable for a few reasons. Firstly it's from Uruguay, a nation not known for it's film industry. Secondly, it's filmed (allegedly) in one single take, giving it a real time effect. Thirdly, despite it's apparent low budget, it is for the most part an effective horror/thriller.
A father and daughter arrive at a remote house which they are set to clean up the following day. As they settle in for some sleep, the daughter Laura hears some strange noises coming from upstairs. Eventually she persuades her father to take a look only for something to attack and kill him. From then on Laura, creeps from room to room, not knowing what or who is with her. With all the outside doors locked she finds a key giving her an escape to the outside world, where she encounters the house owner, who on seeing Laura covered in blood, goes inside to investigate and on return he persuades her to reenter the house. At first they find nothing, including the body of her father and then the the attacker strikes again, knocking down but not killing the owner, Nestor.
From here the plot turns, it appears that Laura and Nestor had a child who is no longer alive and Laura is exacting her revenge. She kills Nestor and the camera fades to black, before we are then presented with a serious of Polaroid photos that suggest an untoward relationship between Laura, her father and Nestor.
The film is for the first two parts very effective, once you get past the in and out of focus camera work outside of the house. Once inside, with the house boarded up, the only light is via two halogen lamps and a few candles. Once the noises start, the darkness becomes unsettling, we the viewer constantly scan the to look for clues of what is or isn't there. Much of the camera work stays very close to Laura and the use of mirrors helps give some sense of perspective as she moves from darkened room to darkened room. The strange sounds that fill the darkness add a sense of terror to the proceedings. The are some genuinely unnerving moments during this part of the film and there is some relief as she manages to get outside. The return of the owner Nestor and their return into the house reignites the sense of fear and we get glimpses of what may be the cause and there is a clever use of the flash from the Polaroid camera which literally illuminates an otherwise blacked out space.
Then the plot seems to twist and suggests that it is Laura who has killed her father and Nestor, the revenge she has taken for the fact her child is dead. It's this plot twist changed my enjoyment of the film. At first I didn't get it, but on further thinking it does sort of make sense, albeit in a quite clever way that there is the suggestion of untoward events and yet it is merely Laura taking revenge and the sounds are perhaps manifestations of her mind. Yet it still doesn't quite add up, how did she manage to get the body into the chair when the camera suggests otherwise? It's details like those that don't make sense. Also the outcome and reason behind her actions are not obviously explained, which further confuses me, I mean maybe I'm stupid or maybe I missed a vital plot point, or maybe in this instance what you see is literally not what you get.
The film for some may be riddled with clichés, nursery rhyme music, the use of mirrors or the don't go upstairs warning and Laura's constant snuffling for some reason reminded me of the dog Muttley from Wacky Races when he laughs. It is however a great accomplishment for reasons stated at the top and for the most part it plays as an effective and tidy piece of horror/thriller.
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