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Belittling Horror Excessively: Shiver05:38 PM -- Wed October 5, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A kid who's allergic to sunlight moves to a village that's in a valley so it gets less sun. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, this village is being plagued by vicious attacks on its sheep by an unknown entity. The attacks escalate beyond sheep, and hamstringing ensues. This movie is in Spanish and subtitled, by the way, which I didn't realize in advance.

Scariness Type: Jump scares, creepy small-town secrets, and I guess what I'll call "lurking horror". That's where you know something is out there, and while you never quite see it, you're on edge knowing that it's there somewhere. Also a little bit of gore, but your average action movie has more.

Rating: 4/5 Soccer Balls.

Awarded: Most Realistic Use Of Computers In A Movie, Ever. At one point, the kid is IMing with someone, and she sends him a picture, and it even has a pop-up that says "Peer To Peer Connection, Accept?", which I totally remember from old IM days. He also uses perfectly real search engines to get pretty much real results. And not once do we fly through cyberspace.

Good Stuff: I just felt good about this movie from the beginning. It's kind of the classic likeable outcast boy situation. Good acting, good creepiness. There's a lot of twisting to the story, and you truly won't guess what or who the monster is until you see it. It all kind of makes sense in the end, but the logic is a bit contorted (still, only a bit contorted is pretty impressive for a movie). There was also a scene that really got me, where the kid is alone at home, he thinks he sees the monster outside, and he runs around the house locking everything up and then huddles up on the couch, shoved up against a wall, holding a knife (him, not the couch), and he's jittering his legs around with nervous energy. It just felt so much more like what would really happen than what you usually see in movies, it was great. There's a lot of that real feeling here...

Bad Stuff: ...up until the point where they decide to run off into the woods and hunt the monster. Really? The justification is slim at best, and it's classic horror movie "The best plan is for us to split up, head into dark rooms without flashlights, and sit around doing our hair while loudly singing to ourselves so we can't hear anything" business. Otherwise, the only thing I can complain about is the logic of how it all pans out in the end, like I said above. It's pretty questionable, but it made for an enjoyable movie overall, so it works out.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you show a trap in the woods in Act 1, somebody better step in one in Act 3.

My Take: Well, it's a good one. Nothing major or deep, just a little monster movie, but with heart and fun. Provided you appreciate somberness as a kind of fun, because there really aren't any notable laughs or uplifting moments. And there's some good quality creepiness too, in many varieties. In fact, I'd say this movie borrows from a lot of different horror traditions. In one scene, it feels like J-Horror "something you can clearly see is slowly walking towards you and that's scary and why won't it end", and in another it's Stephen King "small town folks are creepy", and then it's Jaws with "we know the monster's out there, we see signs of it, but we can't ever get a good look". Also, it feels a little like Goonies, in ways I can't quite describe.

Artistic Nonsense: This movie is one giant PSA for keeping an eye on your kids. It could be rebranded as an ad for those leashes you see parents use at amusement parks. "Don't let this happen to you [show final scene of movie], keep your kids on a leash."

Later today, I think, or possibly tomorrow, our movie will be Dorm, a Thai movie about a kid going to a new school and not enjoying it until he meets a ghostly pal. I was trying to space out the subtitled movies, I didn't realize today's was gonna be in Spanish!
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