Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Rundown of the 13 (plus) Best Horror Movies I've Seen in the Past Year
[11 of 13]

(September 2011)

From down Argentina way, the Bogliano brothers, Adrián and Ramiro--also responsible for the ultra-stylish Sudor Frio (Cold Sweat) and the down-and-dirty, black-and-white Habitaciones Para Turistas (Rooms for Tourists)--bring us Penumbra, where Margarita (Cristina Brondo) is having a bad day, as a total solar eclipse comes creeping, the harbinger of terrible things for poor, put-upon Marga.
All she really wants to do is rent out an apartment and get back to Spain where she claims things are so much better than Buenos Aires, but circumstance and misunderstanding conspire to make her life difficult.

Marga’s a not-so likeable, not-really sympathetic lead, and there’s a certain amount of perverse pleasure in seeing her discomfiture as the day wears on. But, this being a slow burn of a film, a viewer’s outlook on Penumbra will more than likely hinge on whether or not they can stand going through the running time with Marga.
Girlfriend lies, apparently sleeps around to get things done, uses people to get what she wants, and generally just looks down on everyone and everything that isn’t Marga.
She’s not the easiest protagonist to identify with, but if you stick this one out, it’s ultimately a satisfying cinematic experience, more so perhaps than Sudor Frio, where the style simply oozed off the screen, sometimes to the detriment of the material. In Penumbra, the style is still evident, but restrained enough to allow the narrative and the performances to stand on their own merits.
I’m so looking forward to Adrián’s contribution to The ABCs of Death, as well as Ahí Va el Diablo (Here Comes the Devil), which will reportedly look back not just on Nicolas Roeg’s work, but also Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, a personal favourite of mine, and a film that Bogliano apparently loves as well.

(Penumbra OS courtesy of

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