terrified | demian rugna | ariel chavarria | maximiliano ghione | norberto gonzalo | haunted | haunted house | ghost | ghosts | argentina | hugo halbrich | george l. lewis | aterrados | elvira onetto | agustin rittano | demian salomon | natalia senorales | julieta vallina
Film: Terrified (Aterrados)
Director: Demián Rugna
Writer: Demián Rugna
Starring: Ariel Chavarría, Maximiliano Ghione and Norberto Gonzalo
This film I originally had heard about a few podcasts I listen to. My interest was sparked as all the shows that have brought this one up, seemed to be quite high on it. On top of that, it was part of one of the 31 Days of Halloween challenges I took on for that first watch. I’m now giving it a second viewing as part of the Summer Series for the Podcast Under the Stairs. The official synopsis for this film is when strange events occur in a neighborhood in Buenos Aires, a doctor specializing in the paranormal, her colleague and an ex-police officer decide to investigate further.
I’m going to kick this review off that this movie got to me. There aren’t a lot of films that do it anymore, but this one ticks the boxes of things that personally affect me. I don’t believe that there are ghosts or things to this nature that haunt people, but there are certain films that trigger the fear. I was nervous going to bed after watching this one and I’ll get into why going forward. I’ll be honest, it got me again for this second viewing.
We start off with a couple. Clara (Natalia Señorales) is supposed to start making dinner, but she stops and hears something coming from the sink. Her husband is Juan (Agustín Rittano) comes home. He’s confused and then concerned about what wife says. She claims to hear a voice was coming from the sink telling her to kill herself. The two go to bed. Early in the morning, Clara gets up to take a shower. Juan is woken up by banging on the wall. His neighbor, Walter, told him he was doing some remodeling and he’s annoyed at the time he is doing this. It isn’t the first time. The husband goes outside to ring the bell for Walter and gets no answer. When he comes back inside, he realizes that it isn’t coming from next door, but his own bathroom. What he finds inside is terrifying.
This couple aren’t the only ones effected by this. What I also like about this is that it shifts perspectives to show us others that are being affected by it as well. After the events we saw, Juan is being kept in a mental hospital and three people come to visit him. They are paranormal investigators and one of them has seen something similar in the United States. They need the husband’s approval to do gather the data they need. These three are Jano (Norberto Gonzalo), who is a retired forensic investigator who has had some interesting things happen to him. There is also D. Mora Albreck (Elvira Onetto) and Dr. Rosenstock (George L. Lewis). They’re doing research with the latter experiencing this prior as I said.
We then get to meet the neighbor who is being accused of hammering on his wall at night, Walter (Demián Salomón). He is having trouble falling asleep due to an entity moving his bed, unplugging his light and hiding in different spots in his room. He buys a camera to prove he isn’t crazy. He is also trying to contact Dr. Albreck, but she is too busy to see him. What is happening to him extends to the boy who is living across the street. Tragedy hits when this man tells him to leave his yard.
I think that recaps enough of this film. To get back to what is effective for me is that there are things appearing behind people and they feel the presence, but don’t know its there. I don’t know why, but for some reason that unnerves me. The entities in this film are quite scary looking. If you’ve seen the poster, then you get an idea of how they look. It looks much creepier in the movie to be honest.
This film also introduces something I really like about perspective. It can be as simple as looking at something one way, you can’t see anything out of the ordinary. Moving slightly over and looking again something can be revealed. There are talks about alternative dimensions where these entities are coming from. I like that they describe it as two realities sharing the same space. The concept of not everything you are seeing as being real is something else and it plays a lot into how this film concludes, which I also thought was interesting.
There is one more part to the story that I wanted to delve into. I must give credit here to the Wat-Zee Party Horror Show. They covered this movie and they brought up that water is involved. With this second viewing, I see what they mean. Dr. Albreck does explain this a bit and it is interesting. Water carries over this haunting. It might not actually be a haunting with things I’ll go into later, but something else. It is scary that something we need to survive could be a major part of our downfall as well.
Moving from there, I want to talk about the editing. This film has a few jump scares and I’m not going to lie to you, two of them for sure made me call out. I don’t normally fall for them, but they’re used effectively. I even knew one of them was coming and it still got me. The running time isn’t long and it doesn’t waste time getting into this either. It is building tension from the opening sequence to the end. I also like how the stories are all edited together. It is like what you’d seen in The Grudge films where we aren’t getting it linear. We are getting different angles and we can piece it together, which is fitting for what the movie is conveying. I did have an issue with the final scene, but I’ll get into that when I touch on the effects.
The acting in the film I thought was solid. The people who are being haunted have that worn out look to them. They can’t sleep and whatever is bothering them is taking a toll on them. It was very believable. Maximiliano Ghione as Captain Funes was good. He is tough in that he wants to protect those involved. He shows fear though. Part of this is a medical condition he has. He also is close to retiring. I like Gonzalo, Onetto and Lewis as the investigators as well as our ‘experts’. Julieta Vallina was solid as Alicia. I feel horrible for what her and her son must deal with. I’d say that from there the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed. I did want to give credit to those playing entities. They were creepy for sure.
As I alluded to earlier, the effects in the film I thought were good. There is a scene in the bathroom that was unnerving for me. The creatures in the movie are quite scary as well. I don’t think is completely CGI, but I know it was touched up. There was a dead child and his look was very well done. All of this was amazing. I don’t really have much negative to say here. The final image I didn’t like and this was the only bad CGI, that’s all I could think of. There was another scene later in the movie, but it quick so it hides it. They did some things that were creepy, the blood looked good and it made me feel uncomfortable.
Now with that said, I think could be one of my favorite haunting/haunted house films I’ve seen in awhile. The story is quite creepy. We are never really given an explanation which I found to be interesting. The concept of perspective and how all these neighbors are intertwined I thought was good. The acting helped to bring this film to life. Effects seemed to be mostly CGI, but they were used quite well. There was only one time that I had any issues and it wasn’t that big of a deal. Now I will warn that this film is from Argentina and I had to watch it with subtitles. If you can get past this, this was a successful haunting film that had some effective jump-scares. I thought overall this was a very good film.
My Rating: 9 out of 10