Thursday, September 05, 2019

Use of Tropes: Through the Mirror

In the original Spanish A Través del Espejo, directed by Freddy Novillo, this is an odd one. It is a succubus film – and as we know the overlap between vampire and succubus is frequent. However, this succubus is not actually feeding on anyone, as far as I can tell, and has a different goal. That said, the film definitely uses some tropes and imagery that warrants mentioning it.

It also strikes me as a vanity project for star and co-writer Ana Bris, and the story crowbars her into the plot in the most ridiculous way. The film then continues to present an ill-thought through narrative but… well we care less about narrative than we do tropes sometimes but that narrative will lead us to the tropes…

It starts with a woman (Natalia Bravo) facing a mirror and chanting about hating humans. A demonic version of her own face stares back at her. A fireball opens into the credits. It is 2007, the place Madrid and a cop searches through a house gutted by fire. The body of the woman is there, as is a young girl who is still alive. She is taken from the scene (as is the mirror, undamaged by the fire, by the cop). We are going to cut forward to 2018…

Alfred and Dana
Dana (Sara García) and Alfred (Valentín Paredes) are a couple and (it seems) that they have just got a new home and are about to adopt. This makes Dana sad in some ways as she clearly wanted kids of her own, but to no avail. The kid (!) they are to adopt is Sira (Ana Bris). Now, whilst it might be rude to ask a lady her age, she clearly looks adult and the blurb suggests that she is 21 – there is just no way there would be an adoption of a 21-year-old, they are past the age of majority. It feels like an ignored logic to have Ana Bris appear in her own film’s story. Worse it makes Alfred, with his hugs, touching and calling her daughter seems as creepy as.

mother appears
Nevertheless, they adopt her, take her home, show her to a room that is decorated and has clothes (underwear?) in the dresser and have bought her a present – a mirror found in a flea market. Yes, it’s the one from her mother’s house and she gets a static shock from it. We then see her day to day life – which seems to have jumped forward in time by a few months. We see the parents are church goers (they don’t appear to take Sira) and she visits a medium, Cassandra (Bianca Leah), who sees her mother’s figure behind her (we see her at another occasion too).

Ana Bris is Sira
There is no real build up to her possession – it seems to be a reaction to… Well, you know that I mentioned Alfred seeming creepy… he certainly is… he keeps a bottle of chloroform and a rag in his bedside table (unbeknown, I assume, to Dana) and goes to Sira, chloroforms her and has a bit of a grope before shutting her bedroom door on the camera. She bolts awake later and is now possessed. Cassandra later says that she is possessed by the succubus Lilith. Sira gives Dana an axe to the head outside the house before going to her 'parent's' bedroom, straddling Alfred and stabbing him in the chest.

Her actions are fairly much slasher, as anything else. Cassandra (before having her heart plucked out and eaten) suggests that Lilith wants to become pregnant to carry on her line. She certainly seems to have an ability to seduce men (or all the men in the area are simply horny) and there is a sexual moment before killing them. A couple of times this is by biting and we do see her produce fangs (though that victim is then seen bleeding from the eyes rather than the neck). There is no energy taking/consumption that I can tell.

different reflection
So that is the main tropes actually covered – fangs, succubus (and the crossover with vampires, thereof), biting like a vampire occasionally, and Lilith (one victim is an owl spotter and, of course, Lilith is associated with owls). She is held by a cross, momentarily – but that is pretty much a demonic thing. We do get a moment with blood at the corner of her mouth, which feels stylistic only. We also get a sexual element (common for both succubus and vampire stories) – she does reflect in the mirror but her image can be different to her.

This is odd as it is fairly well made but the narrative is terribly put together and it reeks of vanity project. The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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