Thursday, March 07, 2019

Vamp or Not? Aterrados

Aterrados (or Terrified) was a 2018 film hailing from Argentina and directed by Demián Rugna. The film takes a haunted house (or houses) premise and does some interesting things with it. There is an argument to be had that it could have gone further, that as it shifted vision from haunting to something else it might have flipped itself into Clive barker territory (more) or even a Lovecraftian territory.

It was mentioned to me by Leila as she had been told about it and it was suggested that there was a blood element (which there is) but is that blood element enough to draw it into the vampire genre? Let’s see.

It starts with Clara (Natalia Señorales) at her sink, she thinks he can hear something gurgling (it sounds like to us) in the pipes. Later when her partner Juan (Agustín Rittano) gets home he talks about this and that (including the mysterious survival of a dog he ran over). He realises there is no dinner cooking and asks if she changed her mind. She replies she couldn’t cook as she heard voices in the kitchen who said they were going to kill her.

killed by the invisible
They go to bed and Juan awakens with Clara not in the bed. He doesn’t really comment on that as he can hear banging and assumes it is his neighbour Walter (Demián Salomón). He bangs on the wall but the noise doesn’t stop and eventually he goes to the neighbour’s house and starts pressing the intercom to no avail. He returns home and realises that the banging is not coming from Walter’s but the bathroom, where water is running. He goes in and sees Clara floating over the bath being thrown wall to wall, blood everywhere and she likely dead…

Elvira Onetto as Albreck
It’s a great opening and sets the scene. Juan is, of course, arrested, but he is approached by three investigators (in the hospital or jail he is in); Jano Mario (Norberto Gonzalo), Mora Albreck (Elvira Onetto) and Rosentock (George L. Lewis). They believe him innocent, show him a picture of a similar occurrence in America and then our story goes back in time to look at events centred on Walter. As we meet him he is at work, scared and exhausted and being given the run around by Albreck’s secretary who asks him to call back the next day.

its under the bed
I won’t point by point the plot but will cover some salient parts. Walter is being haunted by a being who, apparently, lives under his bed. Indeed we see him look under the bed, nothing being there, and then as he lies back down the viewer sees the humanoid figure. When refused by Albreck’s secretary again, and told he needs proof, he buys a camera with night vision and actually captures the entity on film. The encounter leaves him screaming in agony…

moments before
The next day a young boy runs into his yard to retrieve his ball. Whilst there he drinks from an external faucet. Walter shouts, from behind blinds, for the boy to leave. He backs away into the path of a bus. Flipping forward, we get a brief glimpse of people returning from the boy's funeral and then his mother, Alicia (Julieta Vallina), hears something outside the house. There are small muddy handprints and footprints. Alicia had a relationship with a cop named Funes (Maximiliano Ghione). He is called by the patrol who attended the house and he calls retired forensics expert Jano. In the dinning room, sat statue like is the rotting corpse of Alicia’s son – the cops swear that they saw it move.

the restless dead
The boy has ripped fingers, where he has scratched at coffin and earth, and Jano recognises what has happened – as a coroner he has witnessed restless corpses before. He arranges for Funes to cover up the event (suggesting Alicia will be locked up as mad) and rebury the corpse. To prevent it walking again Jano suggests concrete – it would have been neat is he had suggested staking the corpse to prevent movement but the idea is the same, prevent the corpse from being restless.

Jano and Funes
So we have had something reminiscent of night time visitations by shadowy persons (Walter’s story) and a restless corpse. The investigators set up shop in the three houses (with Funes). Their hypothesis is that there are two worlds sharing one space and the entities from the other world can cross over through the medium of water and have nested in the three houses. They can use our bodies and this idea of an other-dimensional (or alien) entity brought Lovecraft’s the Shunned House partly to mind.

These beings like blood
What about blood though? Rosentock has a knife penetrate his hand and pin it to the bottom of a kitchen cupboard. He and Funes can hear something slurping and the blood is being sucked up into the cupboard. Rosenstock tells him to clean every trace of blood up and later it is said that “These beings like blood”. The slurping suggests that it is being consumed and the connection is explicit. Reading between the lines, the little boy walked backwards into the bus’ path after consuming water (the medium the entities pass through) and presumably it is they who reanimate his restless corpse as a host. That would make a sense of the restless dead (in this worldview) and it is the entities themselves who like to drink blood. They also like to torture those they take, apparently, and a push through to something out of Clive Barker might have been a natural step as we see a few moment of body horror as the torture is mentioned.

I think this is enough to say they are vampiric beings.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Shudder via Amazon US

On Demand @ Shudder via Amazon UK

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