On her mother’s death, journalist Carmen (Camila Sodi) learns that she now owns her grandmother’s dilapidated fixer-upper house in the country – and decides, along with her stereotypically useless husband Julian (Juan Pablo Castaneda), to move into it. When the local locksmith is visibly reluctant to help her chip away the wax that has sealed the door of the house, savvy viewers will have perceived that this move is a very bad idea.
Director Rodrigo Fiallega, working from a script by Molo Alcocer Delano, follows a very well-trod path in this Mexican horror movie – which even gives away the direction it’s taking in its title, let alone the art direction, the sickly ochre-ish pallor that hangs over everything, and the usual bumps in the night and box of videotape home movies that don’t just chronicle family birthdays but reveal that the grandmother had a sideline gig chanting at the bedsides of the possessed as a priest (Juan Carlos Colombo) carried out exorcisms. Still, Carmen has to do some sleuthing on her own – whenever he might be useful, Julian has a reason not to be on the scene – and track down the retired, blind priest who, of course, tells her that whatever evil he fought with her grandmother is still around and she’s likely to be its target.
Fiallega has a visual effects background (digital compositor on the likes of Olympus Has Fallen, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows) and might have worked harder on the general look of the film than the storytelling. In its general outline, this has some similarities with Mickey Keating’s Offseason – one of the best films in this year’s FrightFest lineup – but that uses its familiar premise as a springboard for surprises and well-crafted eeriness. This just goes with the same old tricks.