31 Days of Reviews: The House at the End of Time (2013)

A woman wakes up confused in a pile of broken glass. She fears the worst and begins searching the house for her young son. While searching, she stumbles upon her husband, killed by knife wound on the floor. Frantically, she continues searching for her son, and when she finally finds him, he disappears in front of her very eyes. Police arrest her for the murders of her family, and she spends the next 30 years in prison. Now an elderly woman, she returns to her home to figure out what really happened to her family.

I’ve delved back into my list on Netflix to watch some movies that I found a while ago while planning for this month of reviews. That’s where this one has come from.

The House at the End of Time, also known as La Casa del Fin de los Tiempos, is a Venezuelan horror-suspense film. The movie is spoken in Spanish with English subtitles. It’s directed by Alejandro Hidalgo, and it’s considered the highest grossing thriller of all time in its country of origin.

The very first thing that I have to say about this film is that the cinematography is absolutely stunning. The image above is one example. This is the second shot in the film, and the framing and use of reflection is so gorgeous. The rest of the first scene continues with shots that are very reminiscent of German Expressionism, brilliant use of shadow, sometimes even chiaroscuro lighting through lamplight. It’s beautifully disorienting.

At the same time, the editing is pretty effortless as well. One of the standout moments for me was the passage of time while the main character Dulce (Ruddy Rodriguez) spends 30 years in prison. Essentially, she walks into the cell and stares at the back wall as the cell door shuts. The frame never changes. The door simply ages. The door opens once more to reveal Dulce as if she never moved from staring at that back wall, except now she’s an elderly woman. I loved it. It was extremely time efficient and poignant at the same time.

On that same topic, the editing throughout the rest of the film is still great. The story alternates between flashbacks that lead up to the murder, revealing the seemingly paranormal tendencies of the house, and scenes that happen with elderly Dulce in the moment. The film never really shoves it in your face when a flashback is taking place. The flashbacks and present day scenes are intertwined so effortlessly that I felt it made everything flow even better.

The story is very intriguing. I was enthused throughout the entire film. In other reviews, I’ve seen people compare it to The Conjuring, The Others, and Oculus, except I actually think it’s better. There are times throughout the film where certain aspects can be confusing. Rest assured, these moments will come together in the most beautifully tied bow by the end of the story.

Acting within The House at the End of Time is fantastic. Ruddy Rodriguez is phenomenal. She conveys the mother’s emotions very well at both ages that she portrays. The child actors who play her sons Leopoldo (Rosmel Bustamante) and Rodrigo (Hector Mercado) are very easy to watch. The actor who portrays the young priest (Guillermo Garcia) does a very good job as well, taking a character that could be unbelievable and integrating him well into the story.

When I tried describing the premise of this film to someone else, they were also thoroughly intrigued. I think the story can really do that with this particular film. It has the emotional drama that some people like. It delivers a very good haunted house feel through the majority of the film, and it delves into some aspects of science fiction to tie everything together. It was a good film. I really enjoyed it. I do recommend it.

For a more visual representation, check out the trailer below!

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