I really don’t know where to start with this, my brain is still a little fried from watching it, but don’t worry, it’s a good thing! I’ve actually got it on again while I’m writing this review.
The story revolves around Leon (Aaron Poole), an antiques collector, who has recently lost his estranged mother and has inherited her house, where he once lived as a boy.
Arriving at the house, he takes a good look around and is surprised by the things he sees. His mother was a very religious person, which Leon himself suffers issues from. But what he finds seems more like an obsession, with the entire house feeling like one big shrine to a mysterious cult!
The more he looks into this cult and further the examines the house and what his mother has left behind, the further he delves into himself, sometimes causing panic attacks. Now starting to see things that he struggles to explain, he gets the feeling that his dead mother is trying to reach out to him with some kind of message. Or, is it just all in his head?!
The first thing I noticed about the movie was the incredibly amazing score. Right from the opening title sequence to the end of the film, the score itself is enough to put you on edge. It supports the lone role of Leon perfectly and helps with the slow burn pace throughout.
I say lone role, Poole, who did an excellent job, is the only cast member we see close up or on-screen for the most part. During the panic attacks, Leon contacts Anna, voiced by Charlotte Sullivan, by phone. He also speaks to his antiques dealer by phone. He does get a knock at the door from a neighbor (Julian Richings), although his identity isn’t revealed, it becomes apparent later in the film. His visit only adds to Leon’s confusion with what’s happening in his mother’s home.
Then of course, there is Vanessa Redgrave as Rosalind Leigh. Again, we only see her in pictures around the house and very briefly at the end. Redgrave provides a voice-over, a narrative of her own account, rather than what’s going on in front of us. This is something that barely ever works in horror, but in this case it creates a very haunting feeling and adds to the already creepy feel.
As far as the overall meaning of the film goes, I feel it’s very open to interpretation, which is why it left me in a spin. Was it the story of a lingering oppressive spirit dealing with existence? Was it a story of a man’s childhood demons and loss? Or was it a look at religion and how it affects us? At one point, it even verges on a possible creature feature. It keeps you thinking about and questioning everything that’s going on in front of eyes and ears! Something that far too many horror movies lack.
You have to give great credit to Rodrigo Gudiño for pulling all the different elements of the film together so well, where maybe other directors have failed in the past. With Gudiño direction, the story, the score, the acting, the narration, the set, even the voices of the unseen characters, all blend together in a fantastic mix of darkness that should keep you feeling fearfully anxious and unsettled with every scene. If you like horror that gives you something to think about and messes with your head, even maybe for days after, then this original piece of filming making is a must see!