Horror movies as award nominees
in 34th Mar del Plata International Film Festival
by Luciana Costa
Each year, little by little, horror movies conquer more ground in the film industry. Years ago, there was no way one of them would be Oscar nominated. In 2018, “Get Out” was among the nominees for Best Feature and even won the prize for Best Original screenplay. At this year Mar Del Plata Film Festival, we had the horror movie “The Returned” (Los Que Vuelven) at the contest for best Argentine movie on the FIPRESCI Prize.
It was written and directed by Laura Casabe. It’s her third horror movie along “Benavidez's Case” (La Valija de Benavídez) which is available on Netflix in many countries and “The return of the Indian raid” (La Vuelta Del Malón) inspired by a famous name Argentine painting. She also directed the adventure short film “The Good Fairy: A Peronist Tale” (El hada buena - Una fábula peronista).
“The Returned” is about a woman in despair that just gave birth to a dying child. She runs for the woods and into the waterfalls to beg Iguazú to let her baby live no matter the consequences. According to the legend, Iguazúis the most powerful entity but should never be summoned or terrible things will happen. The price of her granted wish is that a lot of people start getting possessed and death will come for all those involved.
The handmaid tries to stop it all by given the baby back to Iguazú but ends up getting killed. She also becomes the first victim of Iguazú. Not only does she seem possessed, it looks like Iguazú took her body. She is the one that does most of the killing. This character is very well played by actress Lali Gonzalez.
“The Returned” has a scary atmosphere that is constructed from the beginning. The plot happens many years ago. There’s no need to say which year, we can feel it by the clothes, the candle lights and the furniture. The movie’s original languages are Spanish and Guarani a local language spoken by natives in Argentina. It doesn’t have much dialogue and gladly we don’t need it to understand what is going on.
The special effects are impeccable. The moment people are possessed and their eyes turn black it’s very well done. There’s no need to explain with words what is happening, we know everything by the images. The killing scenes are incredibly well done. They don’t seem fake at all.
We are drawn to know that nature is the protagonist of the movie by the spectacular photography that starts with a close up and opens at leafs, trees and waterfalls. The first scene already shows us what is coming. While nature is being shown we listen to a voice off that sounds scary by itself.
This movie is not only a horror one. It’s a tribute to South American legends. The plot also comes with an important subject: sometimes we want something so bad no matter the consequences. Is it worth it? Another subject that we have here to think about is nature’s rage. Mankind is destroying the planet, undoubtedly. We rely on nature to provide us but we don’t respect it. We must all stop before it’s too late.