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Blu-ray Review

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Starring: Maxi Ghione, Norberto Gonzalo, Elvira Onetto and George L. Lewis
Distributor: Acorn Media International
RRP: £19.99


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 13 September 2021

Acorn Media International in association with Shudder releases Terrified for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK. When a man’s wife is killed in the shower by an unknown force repeatedly impacting her head on the walls, he is arrested. However, three elderly experts in the field of paranormal psychology believe his story and want to know more. Apparently, this is far from being an isolated incident. At least four houses are affected on a suburban street in Buenos Aires. Another man is terrorised by a tall and gaunt ghoul, and a woman has her dead little boy return from the grave. A police detective with a respiratory nervous disorder is landed with the case and tries to liaise with the experts. But what connects these incidents, and is it really a sensible plan to split up and monitor each house separately? The dark spirits dislike being disturbed, and turn increasingly violent...

This film has some very nice set-pieces, but I’m not sure that writer/director Demian Rugna has mapped-out the scenario so that it ultimately has meaning and effect. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily; however, it may leave certain viewers cheated that they haven’t got the whole story. Some people expect an explanation for everything (a neatly-tied little package); I’m not one of them. For anyone who remembers Gu-On: The Grudge, this also has a somewhat non-linear structure of storytelling – only not from each character’s point of view. Consequently, the scenes with the ghoul – particularly those shown when the victim plays back camcorder footage of what happens when he is asleep – are suitable freaky. The dead boy, caked in black earth from the grave, sits at the breakfast table with milk and cereal, but it is the uncertainty of whether he is dead or alive which makes this so creepy. Obviously, he must have moved at some point, to have clawed his way out of the grave and returned home. And so when we see the slightest move it has significantly more effect. All the eggs are placed in one basket and we end up with a film of diminishing returns.

The consequence of this is the early reveals allow us to mentally categorise the spirits and any subsequent identification of them proves to be a little disappointing (perhaps a gradual uncovering would have been ultimately more effective). Very little is done with the parapsychologists, either. We simply wait for them to be attacked. It’s a waste of potentially good characters. The movie somewhat peters out, with an unresolved conclusion. In reality, inconsistent events happen without us ever realising their full background, motive or conclusion – but in fiction you have to supply at least some of the answers. It didn’t stop me enjoying the film, however. Although it has become common in supernatural and psychological horrors to have a leading character with a crippling weakness of some kind, in the case of the police detective it works pretty well as there is an internal battle with his conscience. All he wants to do is leave but he doesn’t. And when his debilitating condition renders him unconscious we witness his off-kilter and eerie point of view from the floor when he wakes.

I have enjoyed immensely the devouring of these on-the-whole very solid Acorn/Shudder horror pictures from around the world. Long may they continue. I hope I receive more for review and that the quality is maintained. Something makes me want to watch this one again.


Ty Power

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