Original Title: Aterrados
Tag-Line: (Translated from Spanish) “They are in your house and they are watching you.”
Release Date: 2017.
Director: Demián Rugna.
Producers: Fernando Díaz, Raimundo Bassano and Andrea Kluger.
Written By: Demián Rugna.
Cast: Ariel Chavarría, Maximiliano Ghione, Norberto Gonzalo, Hugo Halbrich and George L. Lewis.
Running Time: 1 hour and 27 minutes.
I must confess. Unless it is a J-horror entry, supernatural horror films really don’t do it for me. I have no interest in the latest Sinister Nun Conjuring an Insidious Haunting of Annabelle. With the resurgence of slasher films, I am hoping against all hope that the stranglehold supernatural horror has had on the box office since the late nineties is broken sometime soon.
That being said it takes something really special to grab my attention and Demián Rugna’s Terrified did just that, thanks to the acclaim and hype on social media about the Shudder exclusive.
The Argentinian subtitled film is so cold-bloodedly creepy because we never know what we are dealing with until near the end when one theory is pitched to us. This fear of the unknown, of us not being able to classify the terror on screen, is a fundamental part of why Terrified pushes so many of our buttons.
In a close-knit community, a man is incarcerated for the death of his wife. A violent, vicious death we witnessed first-hand and know was caused by a mysterious force of some kind. While we understand the accused is telling the truth, the unsuspecting investigators aren’t so sure.
To complicate the investigation even further, peculiar things are happening to the suspect’s neighbours. A young boy who was dead and buried has come back to life leaving the investigators at loss to explain his reappearance other than his distraught mother dug him up but that doesn’t explain his muddy footprints and handprints.
Another neighbour is suffering from acute insomnia believing that something hideous is observing him but only when he falls asleep at night.
The investigative team, including two experts in the paranormal, take the mystifying threads and try to weave them together to find out what has been happening and why.
It is not only the notion of something that cannot be explained is at work here it is that, like the best supernatural films, something had invaded the sanctity of someone’s home and their the day-to-day routines that are very familiar to all of us.
It is the same psychology that was used in the late eighties, early nineties with all the home/family invasions films like The Guardian, Single White Female, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, The Babysitter, Pacific Heights, The Stepfather and others. In those films the real danger came from friends, family and within our very homes.
Terrified’s double barreled shotgun of fear of the unknown and fear from within just blew me away.
And don’t let its low body count or absence of gore fool you. Neither is necessary when Demián Rugna is at the helm making us jump at every shadow and every whisper. Reportedly there is a sequel in the works. If so, I cannot wait to be terrified again by Demián Rugna.
Disappears through a crack.
One person gets hung up.
Ariel Chavarría: Stop banging, asshole!
Elvira Onetto: What are you hiding?
Norberto Gonzalo: This is what happens when we meddle with things beyond our world.
Pints of Blood