Aparecidos (The Appeared)

2017 March 16
by Josh

 The Appeared

Dir: Paco Cabezas

Stars Javier Pereira, Pablo Cedron, Ruth Diaz

 

Screened at Cornerhouse as part of ¡Viva! 15th Spanish & Latin American Film Festival.

 

Siblings Malena and Pablo are called upon to turn off the life support machine of their comatose father in Buenos Aires. Malena is willing, to the point of enthusiasm to switch him off but her brother, never having known his father, needs to find out more before letting him die.

 

They agree that they will travel back to their homeland to find some closure for Pablo first and they travel across Argentina in their fathers old Ford Falcon. During a brief break by the road Pablo finds a young girl scrabbling around the back wheel, he looks with her and finds an old diary cataloguing a series of horrific murders in great detail. Without telling his sister they stay that night at the hotel the diarist murdered a family in 20 years earlier and wake at the exact hour to hear the murders seemingly taking place again. This starts Pablo’s journey to find out what happened, why the diary was in their father’s car and can he save people who are already dead?

 

The film uses a physical presence to present the pain still felt surrounding the horrors that took place during ‘The Dirty War’ in Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Tens of thousands of innocent people were ‘disappeared’ in the middle of the night by the government, held at secret government detention centres were they were tortured and eventually killed. The screening was introduced by Andy Willis, lecturer at Salford University who asked the question could such a serious issue be tackled in a popular genre?

 

The Appeared does tread a fine line but despite using a supernatural plot device to get you to the point, when you do face some idea of what went on, it is menacing, sinister and terrifying. Even more so when you realise the families story is based on real events.

 

The film was a refreshingly mature horror film that takes its time to scare you. And it does scare you. The violent scenes are brutal, swift and shocking. The open stunning landscapes they travel through give the film  a sense of desolation and timelessness and the young lead, Javier Pereira, is brilliant as he turns his energy towards saving what cannot be saved.

 

The film of the festival. 9/10

 

Laura Moffitt

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