Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 41 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
(Spanish with English subtitles)
Directed by: Alejandro Hidalgo
Written by: Alejandro Hidalgo
Starring: Ruddy Rodriguez, Gonzalo Cubero, Rosmel Bustamante, Guillermo Garcia & Hector Mercado
Venezuela isn’t exactly a country known for making phenomenal horror films. Nevertheless, HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME made a few big waves at genre film festivals earlier this year (Fantasia and Screamfest) and even won a Best Picture award at one of them (Screamfest). Having just seen it, I can safely say that this is the case of a mostly serviceable story trapped in questionable production values and wooden characters. There’s also a familiar twist thrown into the mix (sort of hinted at in the film’s title) that has both merits and problems in its reveal. As a whole, this is a mediocre supernatural flick.
Years have passed since a terrible tragedy took place in Dulce’s old house. A double-murder was committed and all implications pointed to Dulce (mother to two sons and wife to a loving husband) committing the crime. She’s spent the past few decades incarcerated for the heinous deeds and wondering what really happened in the walls of her home. Now Dulce has been released and returned to the old house. With the help of a priest and her intuitions, she tries to solve the decades-old mystery that might lead down darker paths than originally expected.
To give away too many details, such as specific complaints about the huge revelation near the end would definitely go into spoiler territory. There also isn’t a whole lot to discuss about this movie in general either. There’s an okay atmosphere built up and some of the nifty spins put on the overly familiar twist (which opens a whole lot of gaping plot holes) are cool. However, production values feel cheap and there’s an unnecessarily long focus put onto the child characters that comes off as almost pointless. It certainly doesn’t help matters that not enough development is given to all of the characters. I didn’t care about these people and the plot just jumps in on a crucial sequence that would have been scarier had the viewer spent time watching this family before all hell broke loose. The elderly Dulce looks laughably bad in some silly prosthetic make-up as well.
HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME is just okay at best. There are nice qualities built up in a solid atmosphere, even if parts are comprised by iffy production values. The characters and performances are bland, but the plot has a couple of cool details thrown into a sort-of stale twist. You can see that there’s a conflicting mess between good and bad here. HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME is not worth your time, unless you can tolerate Telemundo quality horror films. If you’re looking for a quality Spanish-language scary movie, check out THE ORPHANAGE and skip this one.