Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: María Barranco, Terele Pávez, Ruth Gabriel, Ángel de Andrés López, Gustavo Salmerón
Genres: Indie & Art House
Studio: Urban Vision Release Date: 11/08/2005 Run time: 110 minutes
My Pocketbook Died So Yours Doesn't Have To
Jesse Penitent | Somewhere, Out There | 11/05/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If there were a way to assign a negative five, I would. I'm a sucker for horror movies with a "mystery". NOT movies where the whole purpose of the flick is to see how many gross and gorey ways people can be killed. Not serial killers, blood, guts and raunch. Rather, I want to see something with building tension as the protagonist seeks to solve the mystery of the ghost, the demon, the obscure monster. Eerie surroundings, atmospheric lighting and sets, and a definite sense that we are working with something waaaaay out of the ordinary. I don't mind some blood, but it better be there to advance the plot and not just satisfy the gore mongers. Think "Ringu" "Ju-On" and "The Devil's Backbone". (Okay, I'm enough of a snob that I had come to believe that foreign language + subtitles = good movie.)
With that in mind, I bought 99.9. According to reviews on other sites, it had all that I was seeking: a creepy village, building sense of supernatural at play, vanished beloved, plucky heroine, mysterious faces on the wall and a cool insane asylum nearby. And let's not forget the idea of videotaping someone else's thoughts while under the influence. Unfortunately, there were either not enough ideas for the plot or too many (I really can't tell which) as the story goes off in about six different (and completely undeveloped) directions. Is there a serial killer? What are the faces on the wall? What is the purpose of telling us Lara has a child when he all but dropped from the story? Why isn't there more tension about the radio program Lara hosts? What about the thoughts of the dead man and what happened to that story line? Who are THEY? I realize that tying up all the loose ends would be unrealistic, but I wouldn't object to a slip knot or two.
In addition, the subtitling is sloppy: either the translator was Spanish and didn't really know English that well or the English translator didn't know Spanish OR English. Wierd grammatical configurations and misspellings abound. But at least the feature is subtitled. If you want to watch the "making of" featurette (which might have explained what the creators were going for) you have to be really fluent in Spanish because, guess what? NO SUBTITLES AT ALL.
In all, a frustrating experience that was more horrifying than the story it was trying to tell. Save your money and get ANYTHING else instead."
Film that leaves the viewer feeling cheated & confused
Margaux Paschke | New York | 01/17/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoy atmospheric scary movies and I got this as it was recommended in connection with "The Devil's Backbone" (which is excellent). This film was not even close. I will summarize so you can decide whether this movie will appeal to you. The main plot goes something like this: Lara finds out her ex-lover (and father of her child) has died when a mysterious envelope appears for her at work. She is a radio personality who deals with the paranormal. The envelope contains a VHS tape that displays supposed paranormal images and voices. Through a mutual friend, she finds out that he was performing fringe experiments on a drunkard to record mental images while sleeping by pushing the limits of REM with drugs. After he kills this "patient", he goes to this isolated village that has a house haunted by images of faces that just appear on the wall. Apparently, these images have driven the inhabitants crazy. The video sent to Lara is from that house so she goes to the same village to find out what really happened. There is only one other family that lives in the area, everyone else has left. We discover that the house was originally a brothel and soldiers came and slaughtered every woman in it, including their children. Are those tortured souls the mysterious faces? This sounds very good on paper but it doesn't translate to great viewing because although it captures the spooky atmosphere, the plot wanders all over the place and there were too many loose threads left lying around to get to this point.
The family who owns the haunted house is full of suspects with the loony bin grandmother being at the top of the list. There are also the only neighbors, the feral village girl and the innkeeper. Intriguing bits of story (the slaughtered brothel, the odd etchings in the walls, etc.) are presented to whet our interest but they are never fleshed out and I felt cheated as a viewer.
When we discover what is really happening, it answers nothing but does bring a whole new set of questions. Most importantly, how could that be? The killed person cannot be the one they finally show us.....it is not possible from the previous scene. Nothing matches up and nothing is explained except that the ex-lover died at the hands of deranged serial killer(s). At the end, we find out that the dripping green liquid that burns into stone as the ex-lover dies in the very beginning, is actually one of those face images. At the end we also figure out that the very beginning makes no sense. Knowing what we know now, why would the ex-lover be that afraid? There is no supernatural being after him and why in the world would he have a sexual encounter at the house where that he believes is full of supernatural forces? Or, how about the whole wacky experiment thing? What was that about?
The whole paranormal side of the story is barely dealt with and that is the reason I choose this movie. Perhaps the poor translations provided in the subtitles would explain everything but as the film stands, it is not worth the time or money.