M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Five of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2014 and going through September 30, 2015. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t! Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on November 11, 2014. Available On Demand, digital download, and Blu-ray/DVD! Also streaming on Amazon Prime!

THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME (2013)

aka THE HOUSE OF THE END TIMES
Directed by Alejandro Hidalgo
Written by Alejandro Hidalgo
Starring Ruddy Rodríguez, Rosmel Bustamante, Adriana Calzadilla, Simona Chirinos, Gonzalo Cubero, Alexander Da Silva, Miguel Flores, Guillermo García, Amanda Key, José León, Guillermo Londoño, Héctor Mercado, Yucemar Morales, Efraín Romero
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here

Joining the list of heart-wrenching yet powerfully scary Spanish ghost stories like THE ORPHANAGE, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, and PAN’S LABYRINTH is THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME, a story that touched me deeply as it focuses on the power of a mother’s love. This story takes complex elements and simplifies them by adhering to powerful characterization and raw emotion.

Ruddy Rodríguez is outstanding as Dolce, a burdened mother of two young energetic boys and wife to a lazy husband. Still, she manages to put up with all of them in the rundown and cavernous home they live in. The film opens at what looks like a climax to a previous film that was never made in mid-action as Dolce wanders around in the dark looking up and down stairwells for her family. As she approaches one of her boys, he is pulled back into the darkness by some kind of mystical force and she screams. Fast forward a bit and Dolce is accused of murdering her husband and family, though the bodies of her sons are not found. After a bit, we fast forward again as Dolce is released from prison and returns to her home only to find that despite the large amount of time in the slammer, the house remains haunted with some kind of otherworldly power. The rest of the film has Dolce investigating what really happened that night as she still attests that she is innocent.

Playing around with what happened and when, THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME could easily prove tough to understand to those who don’t like to pay close attention to their films. But given that this is a Spanish film (and thought I took four semesters of Spanish, I still can’t speak a lick of it), I was forced to watch this one closely in order to understand what was happening. Not everyone has that attention span, so I’m sure until the third act when all of the pieces start fitting together, some people may have already checked out. I was intrigued throughout as this film takes its time introducing you to the family, their conflicts, and their struggles, all the while peppering in some pretty inventive and simple scenes of pure bump-in-the-night goodness. Without the use of CG or really any kind of practical effects other than creative lighting and fantastically electric camerawork, this film does what 10 Hollywood horror films attempt and fail to do.

But what impressed me most is how the ending comes together so eloquently and ingeniously. While it should have been evident as to what was happening, when things start clicking together and making sense, this is one of those amazing ah-ha moments that really took me back. To have the lead up to the climax be so effectively haunting, I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally impactful the whole thing is by the end.

If you’re looking for a powerful ghost story that is striking in its simplicity in scares and handling of human emotion, THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME is one that delivers both with a skill and grace that few other horror films have done this year. Sure there are things that will make you shiver and scream here, but the emotion this one will bring out of you will make the horrors endured in this film all the more harrowing.

Click here for the trailer!


THE 2014-2015 COUNTDOWN!


#16 – THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME
#17 – THE STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS
#18 – CUB
#19 – POD
#20 – BACKCOUNTRY
#21 – CLOSER TO GOD
#22 – WE ARE STILL HERE
#23 – A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
#24 – WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD
#25 – THE EDITOR
#26 – DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD
#27 – PARA ELISA
#28 – THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT
#29 – FROM THE DARK
#30 – EXISTS
#31 – A PLAGUE SO PLEASANT


M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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