Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Film Review: The House At The End Of Time (2013)

The House At The End of Time (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...works perfectly with its ominous atmosphere, unnerving suspense, and well-timed jump-scares."

In 1981, Dulce (Ruddy Rodríguez) was convicted of killing her husband and is suspected of killing her son, although his body was never found. 30 years later, Dulce is returned to the home on a house arrest program...

The House At The End of Time is a very interesting film. The story is told in non-chronological order, meaning it frequently hops between past and present. In the past, Dulce and her family experience a bizarre haunting amidst a barrage of other family issues -- we know from the beginning that his ends in death, but we don't know why, how, or who. In the present, Dulce experiences a similar haunting, but begins to unravel the mystery, as well. There's quite a bit to unravel, too. This is a story where the less you know, the better, so I'll leave it at that. The ending is clever and effective.

 All-in-all, The House At The End of Time is a very effective horror and mystery film. As a horror film, The House At The End of Time works perfectly with its ominous atmosphere, unnerving suspense, and well-timed jump-scares. This is one of the few films that actually kept me on edge throughout its runtime. As a mystery, the film keeps you engaged and invested. This is one of those films where you're taking mental notes; if not, you're actively participating with a pencil and notepad. It's a twisted trip. It'll make you work to fully absorb its clever story, but it's worth it. The film also has a surprisingly emotional aspect. The focus on characters and relationships really amplified the horror and mystery.

The story isn't absolutely flawless, though. There were a few occasions where the story cut corners and took the convenient route. There are also some questions that could have used more thorough answers. I understood the gist of the story and more, but there are certain aspects that kept my mind running. This is a common issue I have with films that involve time, though. The fact that most of its twists and relations are saved for the climax doesn't help, it makes it feel a little cluttered. I'm sure there are a few more holes in here, but I'm not really the type to nitpick, especially when it's unnecessary. The only other issue I had, which is very minor, was the makeup. Dulce ages thirty years in the film, but it doesn't look believable -- it's pretty blatant she's wearing makeup. In fact, just to clarify, I'd consider most of these issues to be very minor -- enough for me to take note, but not detrimental to the overall experience.

Despite some minor cosmetic issues, Ruddy Rodríguez is a wonderful leading lady. Rodríguez delivers a very strong and effective performance. Rosmel Bustamante, who plays a son of Dulce, delivers a fantastic performance, too. I'm genuinely impressed by the child actor. The film is shot well, the cinematography captures the mood and atmosphere well. The music is also very ominous, perfect to set the tone. Writer and director Alejandro Hidalgo crafts a creative and clever film. Hidalgo was capable of crafting great scares and an engaging mystery, and he blends the elements seamlessly. I look forward to seeing more from Hidalgo.

Overall, The House At The End of Time is a great film. If you're a fan of atmospheric horror films, this is a gem. If you're a fan of mind-bending mysteries, this is a must-watch. Although it's not without its flaws, The House At The End of Time is a splendid experience. I strongly recommend it for fans of either genre.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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