10/18/2018 – Peru: We Are Not Alone (No estamos solos) (2016)
Directed by Daniel Rodríguez
I forgot to note it in the review itself, but with Nigeria, this feature officially crossed the fifty-country mark. For fifty-one, we head back to South America for the first time since 2015. While Peru’s filmography is hardly extensive, it does date back to the silent era. Sources can’t seem to agree on the first or even provide much information on those first films. Camino de la Venganza from 1922 has probably the strongest claim to the title from a narrative standpoint. Other such as Luis Pardo and La Perricholi followed before the first sound films Resaca and Cosas de la vida were made in 1934. The first completely sound feature would be Buscando Olvido in 1936. From there, prominent films would be scarce until 1961’s Kukuli, the first film made in the indigenous Quechua language.
Armando Robles Godoy would become the first notable Peruvian director, becoming the first Peruvian to have a film submitted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. In fact, he would represent their first three entries starting with his second film 1967’s No Stars in the Jungle, then 1969’s The Green Wall, and finally 1972’s Mirage. They would not submit another film until 1983’s Maruja in Hell while fellow submissions The City and the Dogs (1985) and The Mouth of the Wolf would go on to become better known.
The 1990s were represented by Fallen from Heaven and Captain Pantoja and the Special Services, but the 2000s brought a degree more recognition internationally. Dramas such as Days of Santiago, Madeinusa, The Milk of Sorrow which would go on to be the first Oscar nominated Peruvian film, and Undertow which may be their most critically acclaimed. Godoy would make the first digital Peruvian film with Impossible Love in 2003 and the country would even branch out into horrifying 3D animation with Pirates in Callao and Dragones: Destino de Fuego in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The Bad Intentions and more would follow in this decade, but none have broken out into big successes.
When it comes to horror, the first true Peruvian title (which means discounting the piecework US co-production Annabelle Lee), is 1975’s The Inquisitor which I can at least confirm part of it exists. It wasn’t until the 2000s that IMDB even lists another Peruvian horror film and they seem to be ultra-obscure at best. Cementerio General, a found footage horror film, billed as the first in the nation’s history saw a theatrical release in 2013. Face of the Devil and Secreto Matusita would follow in 2014 with 2015 seeing the release of their first 3D horror title, The Entity. But today’s film is without question the most prominent of their releases to date.
We Are Not Alone begins on a young girl watching an exorcism movie with her dad (who works on a production line) and her photographer stepmom. They have moved into a new house away from their old life and away from Lima. Like all kids with stepmoms in horror movies, her mom died, and she still hasn’t warmed up to her new mom. She’s also scared by her new house despite her dad’s reassurances that she’s tough and that there’s nothing going on. A door swings open in the night revealing a jack in the box and scratches appear on the wall.
Strange things start happening and the daughter is blamed. However, when it happens when she is around them, they find a door hidden behind wallpaper leading to a basement. The wife starts to suspect something is up with the house, but the husband doesn’t believe her because one of them always has to be the disbeliever (usually the husband). Her camera picks up mysterious images early, but it takes them forever to notice anything off SPOILERS1.
I’m sure you were as bored reading that as I am writing that. This movie isn’t so much as written as composed of the parts of other movies to create a supernatural horror. SPOILERS2In its final 15 minutes it pivots to the standard exorcism hinted at by the opening movie, but the change is abrupt3. Who am I though to complain about a film that finishes itself up in 76 minutes quick moving minutes. It’s quite fond of scare chords that don’t do anything. The film looks fine and it’s not terribly executed with some good special effects, there’s just nothing here you can’t (and probably have) seen plenty of other places before. Still, it’s an inoffensive watch.
Bonus Episode #29 – A – 2010s: Halloween (2018)
Directed by David Gordon Green
It’s the horror release we’ve all been waiting for this month. And don’t say Suspiria even if that is the answer for you because in all likelihood, it will not be opening near you until November. The full review is here since no one would have seen it if I buried it here and copy/pasting it seemed silly.
Next up: The 1980s as I finally get around to watching The Lost Boys I guess.