Monday, October 12, 2015

31 Days of Halloween 2015: La casa del fin de los tiempos

2013, Alejandro Hidalgo -- download

The House at the End of Time -- see, you can literally translate a movie title and have it mean exactly what it said in the original language. Here we have a Venezuela movie that is as much family tragedy as it is hauntings. One that is as touching as it is spooky.

I will have to properly go back and read some of my older posts (cringe) but I am sure another South American flick we saw in Octobers past fit the description of touching and haunting. The tale is done so very well, a story of a family in a house already spooky enough to be haunted, but not so, until Dulce starts experiencing things.

But wait, sorry, I jumped ahead. But not as much as the movie did, for it begins with her face down in her own blood, slashed and scared. Into the basement she goes, to find her husband with an ornate knife buried deep in his shoulder, alive only for a moment, before expiring. She then chases further yelling her son's name, "Leo!!  Leopoldo!!" At the edge of a creepy metal framed door he stands and she begs him to come back. Just as he creeps forward, something reaches from the dark to snatch him away. From basement to tomb like subbasement she searches but never finds him.

She is taken away, for the murder of her husband and son. The boy is never found and she never explains what happened, but is sent away for 30 years. And then the movie picks up with her release, back to the house where it all happened, house arrest maybe for a Venezuelan form of early release? She is allowed to be visited by a priest, and thus begins her tale, to him, to us.

Dulce and her husband were already having troubles, mainly around money but also around something from her past. Her two sons are both perfectly loyal to each other and competitive siblings. She tells the priest of the things that haunted her in the house, seeing figures walking about, hearing thumps and bangs.

The tale is a time jump, going to from current day, as the older lady struggles to live in the house, to her relating the night of her husband's stabbing in detail, to further back, to the real tragedy in her life -- the death of her youngest son. The priest listens to all. We see the more of it. And then things begin to unravel, or possibly spool together.

**SPOILER**

Its all tied, and sweetly so. Not only is this a spooky, jump filled movie of strange ghostly figures, but it is a thrilling time travel movie. For, you see, the house was built by a strange English mason at the turn of the 20th century. And every 30 years, this house causes many of its inhabitants to just disappear. Dulce finds out exactly how and why, as she is carried back and forth to eras of the house, haunting herself, scaring her sons and they, in turn, frightening and influencing each other. In one incredibly heart breaking scene, the older boy gets to embrace his younger brother, whom he has recently seen die. A brother who misses his sibling dearly. And the thrill of how everything ties together makes for the first fully satisfying movie of our seasonal watching.

I highly recommend this one.