It's a cliche thing to write when you're attempting to sell someone on a horror film, but the truth is I don't scare very easy. Honestly, it's probably just due to the fact that I've watched entirely too many horror pictures throughout my lifetime, and I own a sincere yet bordering on hipster mentality of "seen it all before."
That said, Terrified scared the shit out of me. Demian Rugna's utterly mortifying motion picture opens with a set piece (where a suburban housewife thinks she hears voices threatening her from the sink) that makes you want to jump out of your skin, and then somehow keeps getting better from there. The first Argentinian paranormal horror flick, Terrified is an absolute joy to behold from start to finish, as a malevolent force invades a quiet suburban neighborhood and causes chaos amongst its residents. Think: every James Wan movie you've ever seen, but transplanted onto soil you've never visited before.
Of course, Terrified wouldn't be special if it didn't bring something new to the table. Enter a crew of senior citizen spectral investigators, looking to both define and rid the otherwise idyllic borough of these invading poltergeists. Each member of the squad draws from their very particular life experiences and the tools they've acquired over the years to hunt these otherworldly beings. The outcome for each is upsetting and surprising and, best of all, emotionally poignant. Rugna's script is a miracle of spookablast economy, delivering characters we actually care about as well as spectacularly staged "gotcha" horror moments.
The movie played like gangbusters as part of the Fantastic Fest midnight slot this year, able to keep a bunch of drunken, genre-loving goofballs up late with its haunted house theatrics. Even those who are incredibly jaded by the jump scare tactics employed by many modern American horror movies found a lot to love about Terrified, which truly announces Rugna as a bonafide talent to keep your eye on.
Now, Rugna's audience favorite is coming home, thanks to Shudder, who continue to show that they own some of the best taste in global horror. Starting today, subscribers to the expertly-curated service can log in and take a tour of these nightmare living spaces, where some truly awful happenings are going down. It's a perfect selection for your own personal "31 Days of Horror" playlist this Halloween, and a welcome break from just watching the classics over and over again.
So, go on. Give Terrified a whirl. It gave this old horror dog nightmares long after its first Fantastic Fest screening. Let it keep you up all night, too.