29th Oct2021

Grimmfest 2021: ‘The Nights Belong to Monsters’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Luciana Grasso, Esteban Lamothe, Jazmín Stuart, Gustavo Garzon, Agustin Daulte, Macarena Suarez | Written by Paula Marotta | Directed by Sebastian Perillo

A 17 year old girl named Sol moves, with her mother, into the home of her mother’s boyfriend, Gonzalo. Sol feels uneasy, even scared, of Gonzalo and his demeanour, and struggles with the bullies who torment her at school. She encounters a beautiful dog with its foot in a trap, and frees it. The dog initially bites her, but Sol heals quickly from the wound, and the dog becomes a protector to her, violently attacking anyone who harasses Sol. The Nights Belong to Monsters is a curious, slow-moving and atmospheric dark fantasy drama from writer Paula Marotta and director Sebastian Perillo (Amateur).

The performances are, across the board, of a high quality, especially that of Luciana Grasso (Bloody Manitee) who plays Sol. The film itself moves slowly and, in actual fact, not a great deal really happens in the 90 minute runtime. There is a simplistic feel to this, and it all walks alongside a tone of dread and unease, in both the relationship between Sol and the dog, and the people in her life, most specifically Gonzalo, who appears to harbour some twinkle of disturbing feelings towards his girlfriends daughter.

The Nights Belong to Monsters is a unique creature, a low-key fantasy horror drama that doesn’t really use gore, sex, bad language or action sequences to tell its story, but instead builds a tension and relies on an intensely quiet performance from its lead. Fine cinematography and a locale that works very well with the story being told, this is an Argentinian oddity that I found myself pretty enchanted by.

I was hooked on the line of what was actually going on here, and while there are questions frustratingly left unanswered and some questionable holes in the plot, there is still a cool independent film here, and one that has something new going on under its hood.

***½  3.5/5

The Nights Belong to Monsters screened as part of this years Grimmfest.


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