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Natalia de Molina
Supernatural thriller in which a detective investigating the strange disappearance of a businessman uncovers evidence that the living aren't alone. And the terrible hidden secrets of those who also vanished before. Suspense with unpredictable end.
[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.]
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There are scenes of Juan Garcia in his car with his daughter, Laura. Shots from the front of the car show Laura near to the middle of the back seat. However shots of Laura in the rear-view mirror show her positioned next to the rear door as well as showing a roof pillar that does not exist in the front shots. See more »
Spain's horror film industry had a huge comeback in the 90s with directors such as Alex De La Iglesia, Jaume Balagueró and specially, Alejandro Amenábar; a generation of young directors that demonstrated that there was a lot more in Spain besides Pedro Almodóvar's famous melodramas. The nightmarish nights of Spain's big cities, the grim Gothic memories of the country's past and that characteristic black humor that Spaniards domain very well, have become the ingredients of the dark fantasies of Spain's new horror films, and started a school that has begun to give fruits. Director Norberto López Amado is one of this fruits as "Nos Miran", his first film, is an excellent effort in the horror genre that shows the evolution to what Amenábar, Balagueró and De La Iglesia started more than 10 years ago.
In "Nos Miran", Carmelo Gómez plays Juan García, an excellent detective who has been assigned the Barreiros case, one of the most famous unsolved mysteries in the story of the Police Department: the case of a man who one day simply vanished without leaving a trace. While at first it seems as an easy case of a missing person, the mystery surrounding brings back Juan's memories of his own sister Sara (Eva Llobregat), who as a girl disappeared in eerily similar circumstances, and Juan begins to descent into an spiral of madness and obsession. As Juan's investigation takes him to the field of occultism, his wife Julia (Icíar Bollaín) fears that his husband will face the same fate as the previous Detective in charge of the Barreiros case, Detective Medina (Karra Elejalde), who is now an inmate in the local asylum, unable to say anything else besides "they are watching us".
Written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría (famous by his work with Alex De La Iglesia) and based on a novel by Javier García Sánchez, "Nos Miran" is at first a police mystery with noir undertones, but soon it begins to descent into darkness as the plot thickens and the horror elements begin to take over. While it may not be the most original mix, Guerricaechevarría offers an effective and captivating story that toys with the duality of sanity and madness, and where reality is never what it seems. Almost void of his usual black humor, "Nos Miran" is a serious Gothic horror where the very real horrors of the urban nightmare collide with the supernatural.
Director Norberto López Amado shows an amazing talent for a first time director, as everything seems to be in the right place to create an effective horror film. The remarkable use of the camera to create an atmosphere of dread is one of the film's main assets, as well as the eerie score (by Bingen Mendizábal) that almost always sets the perfect mood for every scene. While it's true that López Amado shows the influence of those who came before him (mainly Amenábar's), the touch of film noir he adds to film suits as a glove the police drama part of the story and truly makes "Nos Miran" to be something more than a derivative Gothic horror.
As many critics have said before, Carmelo Gómez is truly at his best in this movie, as he truly becomes this troubled complex character in a frighteningly believable performance that certainly is the highlight of the movie. As the film is focused completely on Gómez character, there is little room for the supporting characters to developed, however, some of the supporting actors do stand out, mainly the kids Carolina Petterson and the young Javier González (who is also in "El Espinazo del Diablo"), who give terrific performance for their young age. Icíar Bollaín also gives an effective acting, but she is definitely overshadowed by Gómez. The excellent Margarita Lozano appears in a small role, but her screen time is very limited and it could even be considered as a cameo.
While "Nos Miran" has apparently all the ingredients for an excellent film, it's main problem is the fact that it truly feels derivative and unoriginal. Guerricaechevarría's take on García's novel focuses more on the mystery instead of its effects (as the novel does), and the Detective's madness is an angle not fully explored (a missed chance, in my opinion). While the lack of Guerricaechevarría's usual comedy does help to enhance the movie's atmosphere, it also creates some tedious moments where the slow pace of the film feels unpleasant.
Despite having these flaws, "Nos Miran" is another excellent horror film from Spain, and a proud example of what seems to be a Renaissance of horror in the land of Cervantes. Like "Romasanta", "Palabras Encadenadas" or "El Espinazo del Diablo", this movie seems to prove that modern horror not only comes from Asia. Hopefully, we'll be hearing more from both Norberto López Amado and Carmelo Gómez. 7/10
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