Month of Horror 2015: World Edition – Argentina: The Appeared (Aparecidos)

Editor’s Note: These posts originally appeared starting here on the AV Club *stares off wistfully*. They are being reposted for completionist sake as this annual series continued onto the AVCAD and now here. Also, forgive the writing for I was younger and dumber and these were written to appear in comments so don’t include pictures and are far shorter and less thorough than the series is now. They have been preserved as they were.

Month of Horror: World Edition
10/05/2015 – Argentina: The Appeared (Aparecidos) (2007)
Directed by Paco Cabezas

After a nice run of countries where I was fairly familiar with their cinema, I’ve moved on to a country where, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve only seen one film from (the great and deserving of its Oscar regardless of what others may say The Secret in Their Eyes). Argentina is also the first of these nations (though hardly the last) not to really have an established horror movie(s) which it can point to as its signature work or even really an established era where horror movies thrived so I admit my selection of The Appeared was largely arbitrary relying on the ever popular method of Google and IMDB. I know nothing of Cabezas’ work outside of the fact that he has apparently transitioned to the US directing an already forgotten Nicolas Cage movie (Rage) and the thus far poorly reviewed TIFF premiere Mr. Right. Also he is apparently a Spaniard, which feels a bit off for the theme, but it is set in Argentina with a discussion of their past and I’m going to count it because dammit I already watched it and Wikipedia lists Argentina above Spain in the countries of which is responsible for it (and Sweden above both but let’s ignore that).

The male lead is a complete dope, who despite having apparently seen horror films before behaves like the dumbest of them on a regular basis while his much more intelligent sister just wants nothing to do with it. Without him acting like an idiot and without a number of contrived coincidences, the plot couldn’t be set in motion, but there has to be a more naturalistic way to do so. There is good to be had though with some creepy, if hardly original, imagery with the film really doing a solid job with its most intense scenes. His sister acquits herself much better, as an actor and character, since she actually get some character development and some justification for her understandably attitude which compliments the story of the film well. The film for the most part (see below) is worth watching, but not necessarily to go out of the way for as I had to.

The ending though… just fuck that ending. If you do watch the movie, turn it off at about the 1:41:00 mark after the final scene in the hospital because SPOILERS ending with the reveal that the movie ends on September 10, 2001 and trying to add in some dramatic irony that “starting tomorrow the world is going to be a better place”, despite the movie having nothing to do with the US, NYC, or anything vaguely related to 9/11 is just idiotic. The reveal just makes it so that retroactively the film was really about the US policy of torturing prisoners post-9/11, which while wrong, feels just as wrongheaded to awkwardly shoehorn into this film which has zero relation to the US or anything remotely related to that situation. If that isn’t bad enough the film just ends with a bunch of ghosts standing around a city despite the film making a big deal about that road earlier and supposedly everything being fixed. The ghosts who the heroes saved showing up for the final scene is such a terrible cliché I half expected them to start floating up to the sky whispering “thank you for freeing us” END OF SPOILERS. In fact, the end just makes me want to take back anything positive I said about the film beforehand and sadly it will certainly be the only thing I remember about the movie.

Up Next: Su Chao-Bin’s Silk representing Taiwan. God I hope this doesn’t end with Neville Chamberlain promising us “Peace for our time”.

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