August 06, 2015

They Returned (2015)

They Returned (2015) - Movie Review
Directed by: Ivan Noel
Country: Argentina

Movie Review: From Argentina, country that usually spits out a lot of interesting dramas, comedies, and thrillers, comes “They Returned”, a part crime, part horror film that is nothing else than a spectral revenge tale set in a small Argentine town. The sixth feature by Ivan Noel starts with considerable mystery and was decently mounted, showcasing solid performances by Jorge Booth and Romina Pinto, joined by the newcomers Julio Mendez, Camila Cruz, Rosana Rossotti, and Edmee Aran. However, the film's finale demonstrates to be the main setback of a story that involves the murder of three kids in ‘The Shame’, an abandoned hospital that is the refuge of a secluded former Nazi known as ‘the lunatic’, the last of a known German family, the Himmels. The kids eventually return home, naked and sexually mutilated, drawing the attention of the country’s authorities that send an experienced inspector to clarify and solve the puzzle. The Jew inspector Cohen (Booth) reunites with the passive mayor, the arrogant local judge (Aran), a concerned psychologist (Pinto), and the school’s headmistress (Rossotti). All of them have their own secrets, but the suspicions fall on Sergio (Mendez), an ‘illuminated’ schoolteacher who keeps talking about an evil chain, with origin in the past, that he considers responsible for the occurrences. It’s him who brings the theory that the kids are already dead, the reason why they act so apathetic and unresponsive. Some of the kids’ parents might have something to reveal too. It’s the case of Paola (Cruz) who lives haunted by a sad past and resentful with her vague boyfriend. The filmmaker Ivan Noel has a strong sense of aesthetics, slyly bringing in spooky atmospheres created through the score that he composed. It was a pity that the finale let down the little quiet chaos he was able to immerse this little town in. Working more at the psychological level, “They Returned” was never creepy enough to make us forget its progressive quibbles and plot failures.

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