is a bad idea to constantly spoil tantrum prone children. Nevertheless,
whenever Elisa breaks a doll, her mother simply replaces it, with another
living being. Ana will be the next victim lured into their macabre doll’s
house, but at least her stoner-dealer boyfriend is not taking her disappearance
for granted in Juanra Fernández’s Para Elisa (trailer
which releases today on DVD and VOD from Dark Sky Films.
entitled Ana needs 1,000 Euros for her graduation trip, so she takes the
drastic step of looking for a job. Diamantina is supposedly looking for a nanny
and her tony flat is right on the town square. (It turns out the walls sure are
thick though.) Kids are fine with Ana, but she balks when she learns Elisa is a
developmentally challenged woman roughly her own age. Too late, Diamantina has
already slipped her a mickey.
she comes to, her vocal chords and muscles are still paralyzed by whatever
eucalyptus cocktail the old woman brewed up. Much to her horror, Ana is
expected to become Elisa’s latest living doll. Diamantina grimly cautions Ana
to cooperate, lest she provoke Ana’s violent temper.
some might find the portrayal of Elisa problematically exploitative, but you do
not review as many horror films as we have by being overly sensitive. Elisa is
a handful—deal with it. Arguably, it is sort of a necessary pre-condition for a
massively creepy premise. In fact, Ana’s state of pawed immobility taps into
some deeply held anxieties, ranging from the sleep paralysis documented in
Rodney Ascher’s The Nightmare to the
cast-bound Jimmy Stewart getting defenestrated in Rear Window.
Para Elisa does indeed
incorporate Für Elise into its
soundtrack, so give it credit for musical literacy. However, the final climax
is a bit perfunctory, which is especially problematic considering it really is
a shorty, barely hitting the seventy-five minute marker.
Nevertheless, Fernández’s execution is unflaggingly
stylish. For some reason, Spanish horror films all seem to share a similarly
eerie but distinctive look and vibe. It is hard to pin down, but you will
recognize it every time. Maybe they are all burning ceremonial effigies of
Franco off-screen. Regardless, Para Elisa
maintains an unceasing atmosphere of dread, while the architecture and
surrounding countryside of Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha looks breathtaking.
Recommended for fans of Spanish horror, Para
Elisa is now available on DVD and VOD from Dark Sky Films.
Labels: DVD, Horror Movies, Spanish Cinema