03rd May2015

‘The House at the End of Time’ DVD Review

by Stuart Wright

Stars: Rosmel Bustamante, Adriana Calzadilla, Simona Chirinos, Gonzalo Cubero, Alexander Da Silva, Miguel Flores, Guillermo García, Amanda Key, José León, Guillermo Londoño, Héctor Mercado, Yucemar Morales, Ruddy Rodríguez, Efraín Romero | Written and Directed by Alejandro Hidalgo

THATEOT-Cast

The House at the End of Time is a rare cultural beast – a Venezuelan chiller. Consequently, it’s far from a traditional genre flick, whereby it’s a mesmerising feat of time shifts melded with the supernatural to work towards developing the real human themes of regret and hope. Despite this, writer and director Alejandro Hidalgo is intelligent enough to still throw you off the main story scent with a very scary and atmospheric opening. A terrified mother wakes to find a mysterious scar down her cheek, discovers the dead body of her husband lying in her basement and is helpless to stop her son disappear into the darkness – snatched into the never, never by an unseen hand. As lone survivor of this absurd sequence she is elevated to prime suspect and convicted of their murders. We see her carted off to prison and that’s your opening five minutes.

The film hurtles forward thirty years to the present day as the old age, childless widow is released from prison to serve the rest of her life sentence under house arrest. From hereon in she works on piecing together the dark mysteries of her house and find out what took her son .

You daren’t take your eyes of The House at the End of Time as the fog of the mystery clears. Miraculously, Hidalgo cleverly straddles the three decades without ever stumbling over his own story logic. Every time we repeat a scene we see it from a slightly different angle or it runs for a few seconds more giving the viewer vital information about the missing boy. The first two thirds of the film creates as much confusion as it does suggest there will be answers. However, when the loose ends draw together during the final act you lose any sense of dread and become exposed to a magical, heart-warming series of revelations about a mother’s boundless love for her child.

The denouement is arguably as satisfying as those infamous closing reveals of The Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects. But this is much more than seeing dead people or finding out who the killer is. Once Hollywood gets wind of this they’ll be queuing up for the rights to do the English language remake. Here’s hoping they take Hidalgo along for the ride.

The House at the End of Time is one of those diamonds in the genre rough you’ll be glad you strayed from your usual horror fair and invested your time in.

The House at the End of Time is out now on DVD from Matchbox Film.

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