Terrified – 2017

Writer and Director Demián Rugna
Starring Maxi Ghione, Norberto Gonzalo, Elvira Onetto, George L. Lewis

Terrified is a film I discovered on Shudder’s recent series 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time. Although they discuss one scene in particular, the film looked good enough I decided to take a flyer on it. This is well worth the time, if you want a taut thriller that is lean on exposition and just right on overall horror.

The story takes place in a Buenes Aires neighborhood where a series of strange occurrences lead police and other investigators to take a closer look. Just what these incidents are will be left for the viewer to experience. Suffice to say there are moments in the film that this viewer has not seen done in this way before. Several of them.

The format of the storytelling involves some chronilogical back and forth. This helps to even out the pacing and give an overall sense of encompassing dread. To use the example of Dr. Albreck (Onetto) one of the more learned investigators, the people in this neighborhood are definitely outmatched when it comes to understanding how their orange wedge universe fits in with the wedge of someone or something else’s. Most people don’t even concieve of the idea that they are in any sort of orange wedge.

In the midst of the story is Commissioner Funes (Ghione), who is nearing retirement, but wants to help out an ex-girlfriend. What he is in for when he arrives will put to test his hearing aid and pacemaker, as he finds myriad things that he’s just not prepared to understand.

Rugna has complete control of every frame of Terrified. He understands that the scariest part of any film is not what one understands. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Everything that remains unexplained adds to the stress and causes the heart to skip a beat or three. That he resists over explaining any of the things we see in this film, outside of the guesses of investigators, makes the viewer a fellow in the experience.

We are not outside of the danger. It’s there waiting for us.

Here’s to looking forward to what Rugna wants to show us in the future.

(****1/2 out of *****)

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