White Coffin (Ataúd Blanco: El Juego Diabólico) (2016)

Director: Daniel de la Vega
Writers: Adrián García Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano
Stars: Rafael Ferro, Ivan Baumgart, Julieta Cardinali

Daniel de la Vega is fast making a name himself and a good name it is too. Naturally due to this, he is also making a name for Argentinian films also and after now watching two of his features (Necrophobia being the first, review already here) I am becoming a real fan of his surreal and utterly bizarre style. Now admittedly this style may not to be everyone’s taste but I would urge people to check them out nonetheless.

Virginia (Cardinali) and her daughter are traveling across the country in their car, playing a word game to help pass the time and alleviate the boredom of the journey. The car suffers a puncture near a deserted and very run down cemetery. Out of the blue a stranger appears and offers to help with warnings of not staying in the area too long. A recovery vehicle looms in the distance.

Once back on their way, Virginia stops to get petrol/gas and some lunch. She instructs her daughter to stay at the table while she makes a quick phone call outside (cliched I know). When she returns back to the table, her daughter is missing and a deadly and surreal game of cat and mouse starts to send Virginia deep down a rabbit hole she may never emerge from in order to save her daughter and possibly even herself.

More so than Necrophobia, this is a very messed up, disturbing and brutal film. The run-time helps here once again (del la Vega never seems to out stay his welcome) with its fast pace and frantic style never letting up. It will certainly take you on one unforgettable ride. Whether you actually understand the ride is entirely another matter altogether. Strange, confusing, full of ‘what the hell’ moments, it is certainly an interesting if not a flawed production.

The production values (as in Necrophobia) are high, lighting is good and the acting all round (especially from the main actors) are reasonable enough. Certainly better than some much bigger Hollywood efforts recently at least. Likewise, my biggest bugbear in film, the audio is excellent and you never find yourself struggling to hear what is being said or reaching for the remote. Being subtitled may help there naturally, but overall this film is excellent in that regard.

Once again the cinematography is excellent (this time by Alejandro Giuliani) and this seems to be part of de la Vega’s style also. He has an eye for what he wants the viewer to see and seems to have a way with his photographers that they see his vision equally well. The score is wonderful and suits the film and setting perfectly without being in your face. Excellent work by all involved.

If you are looking for a bloody, brutal film, that will also most likely confuse the hell out of you and leave you scratching your head as the credits roll, this very well could be your thing. Beware though it pulls no punches in some of the imagery regarding harm to children at times so viewer discretion is highly advised there for the more sensitive of you. Highly recommended if you’re looking for something decidedly different.


The Sage’s Rating:
Three and a half stars

Posted in Action, Foreign Lang, Horror, Thriller and tagged , , , , .

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