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pretty standard feature of your average spooky old house...

pretty standard feature of your average spooky old house...

This movie is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

R

Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep

Laura: I don’t know what to do…
Aurora: You hear, but don’t listen.  Seeing is not believing.  It’s the other way around.  Believe…and you will see.

Laura (Rueda) and Carlos (Cayo) move back to the orphanage that Laura lived in as a young child.  They have an adopted son, Símon (Príncep), and they want to use the facility to care for some other special needs children as well.  Símon often mentions imaginary friends that he plays with, but his parents don’t think much of it until some odd things begin occurring.  When Símon suddenly goes missing without a trace one day, Laura suspects something supernatural may be to blame, while Carlos is convinced Símon was kidnapped and they’ll never see him again.

Even though this movie is derivative of many other movies, including The Others, The Sixth Sense, and Poltergeist, it succeeds because it is made so well.  It’s creepy without being filmed in an overly atmospheric way (see: Lost Souls review), it’s scary without being very violent, and it also has a sadly moving side to it as well.

The plot is actually more complicated than I made it sound above, and it includes many more characters, as we get police investigators, psychic investigators, and one creepy older lady in the house at various times.  The history of the huge house unfolds gradually as Laura investigates more and more into what could have happened to Símon.  And it’s a rather dark history.

Some of the best moments are when Laura is playing these “games” that are possibly set up by Símon…or maybe his invisible friends.  One clue is discovered, which leads to another and another, until the ultimate destination is reached.  This builds good tension as you’re left wondering just what each search is leading to.

The acting seemed to be pretty top notch, though I did have a bit of a problem with the character of the husband being the usual non-supportive guy who thinks his wife is losing her mind and doesn’t want to believe any of this supernatural rubbish.  There’s enough weird things going on that it would be hard to deny something other worldly is afoot.  His attitude basically comes off as being a plot device to get Laura alone in the house.

That complaint aside, it’s a movie worth watching if you like scary (-ish) movies that are more psychological than violent and have more depth to them than just some movie about an evil ghost killing people.

Don’t live in a big, old house.  It will be haunted.  Without fail, it will be haunted.

10 – 1.2 for being sort of derivative – .7 because I didn’t like the character of the husband much – .2 for a possible continuity error that I won’t mention because it would give stuff away = 7.9