In terms of variety and quality, in the last 10 years, highly acclaimed Argentine cinema has produced its first Paranormal horror, “Aterrados“, which translates to English as Terrified and is praiseworthy.
The skillful scenario and superior direction by Demian Rugn brought breathe freshness into this horror sub-genre, always popular in smaller independent productions and among horror orthodoxy, and recently revived and expanded, especially through the rather tedious Paranormal Activity (2007- 2015), and The Conjuring, (2013, 2016).
“Aterrados” is a very solid and interesting horror that is different from the typical American horror production and offers a slightly different approach to ghost stories.
The movie action happening in an quiet neighborhood in Buenos Aires, where some unnatural things begin to happen and very soon this neighborhood turns into a real Twilight Zone. Three neighbors fall victim to mysterious, violent acts that defy nature. A couple hears menacing voices in their house. Their next door neighbor is haunted by an entity that won’t let him sleep. Across the street, a grieving woman receives a visit from her dead son, setting into motion a conspiracy which drives her mad.
An unusual group made up from a police investigator, a former police pathologist who is emotionally attached to one of the tenants and team specializing in paranormal activities will try to discover the mystery that has taken over the houses in this neighborhood where all sorts of awful things have started happening.
And it must be admitted that “Aterrados” acts, just as its name implies, rather creepy and at times reminded on some American films of a similar theme, such as “Insidous” or “The Conjuring,” but with a few significant differences. Unlike mentioned American franchise or mass horror production where writers and authors, in most cases, use cheap stunts and tricks to cause fear in the audience, the story here is built in a completely different way, gradually and with measure. Far from the fact that this horror did not fall into some clichéd situations such as we could see in the past, but we have many more pluses than minuses. The “Aterrados” is actually halfway between art-film and horror, and it also has a non-linear narrative, which makes it a little difficult to grasp when something is really going on.
Persuasive casting, furious editing, playing with the stereotyping, surely lead the film from irony to real horror, with a thriller tension that never fails, deviating from all the basic rules of classic film storytelling such as changing the point of view through the treatment of multiple characters, skipping meaningful explanations – motivation, undefined and utterly effective dismissal … thus making Demian Rugna’s work quite unique, and more importantly, utterly compelling.
Unrelated events that occurred in neighborhood have a denominator. We don’t know why these haunting accidents happen and what starts them, also you will not get an answer at the end, but “Aterrados” will do its best in the first 30 minutes of the movie to drive you crazy.
“Aterrados” is masterfully paced and does not play with jump scares, although there are these moments, it creates an indescribable creeps that you are not sure even in your own home. The jump scares are earned, and the all the hauntings are really well executed. In any given scene, we know that something is about to happen, but we fall for it anyway.
As is usually the case with most horror films, the high rankings did not stay so high throughout the all film because when a local police officer and paranormal investigators get involved in the story, the story is far less creepy than in the first third of movie.
A couple of cheap scenes and critical acting moments in the final third can’t match what happens in the beginning, as well as the lack of a good finale and a storyline that would strike the final blow. But because of the extremely traumatic beginning, the general atmosphere and the story that is a mystery, when the unsubscribe goes – it will not be so easy to put out the light and fall asleep. NO WAY!