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Director: Paco Cabezas
Producer: Morena Films, Oberón Cinematográfica y Jaleo Films
Year: 2007 (2008)
Nationality: Spanish
Genre: terror
Did you know? premiered in Spain after a yearlong delay (12 december 2008)

Review: The Appeared

Are you ready to be scared? Without falling into the usual stereotypes, such as gore, teenagers running around in underwear, or hooded assassins, this astute psychological thriller is bestowed with the unique touch that is the director Paco Cabezas. A film to remember.

By: Joaquín Abreu

The location, Sitges. The year, 2007. The world of Spanish horror and fantasy films shone with an unexpected glow. El Orfanato, (REC), El Rey de la Montaña and Los Cronocrímenes put Spanish horror films back on the map. Hidden among them was Aparecidos, which is finally being released after a yearlong delay, and is set to be a choice Spanish film in 2008.

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Although its director, Paco Cabezas (Seville, 1976), is already known for his zany personality, the film is far more daring, original and risqué than any films of its genre being produced internationally. Pablo and Malena, convincingly played by Javier Pereira and Ruth Díaz, are Argentinian brothers. Brought up in Spain, they return to their home country to visit their dying father. Once there, the film turns into a road-movie ultimately leading to crime and horror. Along the way they are accompanied by ghosts looking for salvation… or revenge.

This brief synopsis does not do justice to the effective narrative, or the suggestive plot. Fright, suspense and a personal drama, blended with the recent history of Argentina, are just some aspects of the film. The characters are not the typical stereotypes of the genre, but people made of skin and bones that draw the viewer in. There are no teenagers whose function is to simply fill the stomach of whichever monster happens to be on duty. We are presented with a horror film that does without excessive gore or cheap effects. Led by a potent plot, The Appeared makes use of a purist cinematographic style reminiscent of films such as The Exorcist, the early work of director John Carpenter, Asian horror films and Duel by Steven Spielberg.

With this film, Cabezas has managed to create an atmosphere of fear by mixing the tools of the genre with melodrama, and avoiding the mistakes made by Los Otros or the aforementioned El Orfanato. The ghosts become spirits from the history of Argentina, bringing in a justified political element to the story. One could say that there is a parallel with the history of Spain itself, where ghosts continue to demand our attention… and beg us to remember.

The cinematography has moments of brilliance, in sequences such as the roadside bar or inside the mirror. The landscape becomes a key player, and the elegance of the production can be seen in the framing and camera movement.

This is a horror film that frankly deserves our attention, especially at a time of year saturated with Christmas blockbusters.




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El 11 December 2008 a las 9:16 PM, Lorenzo dijo...

Cine de suspense y terror con fundamento, cine entretenido, tenso, emocionante, hasta reflexivo, en el que acabas odiando a muerte al malo muy malo…Vamos, como lo vea por al calle ya verás…La de veces que me hizo saltar de la butaca…

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El 12 December 2008 a las 5:47 PM, manolo. dijo...

ojalá estuviera proyectándose cerca de casa….

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El 15 December 2008 a las 11:03 PM, Juan Diego dijo...

En su primer fin de semana Aparecidos ha luchado como una jabata para lograr una recaudación importantísima. Paco ha demostrado una vez más que se puede hacer cine español de una manera distinta… la promoción la ha hecho casi puerta por puerta. Los amigos, la familia, hemos ayudado como hemos podido. Ha sido un ir y venir de emails, sms, llamadas de teléfono a nuestros conocidos… para conseguir que la gente vaya al cine a ver una película. Yo creo que esto nunca se había hecho así antes, y juntos, entre todos, conseguiremos que la peli sobreviva todo lo que sea posible en las carteleras.

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