Review For New Spanish Horror Para Elisa (For Elisa)

Para Elisa is a new Spanish horror that will be released in cinemas and on VOD on September 1st via the awesome Dark Sky Films.

The story follows, Ana (Ona Casamiquela), a college student who needs to earn some quick cash so she can go to an end of year party with her college friends.  She answers a job vacancy for child-minding, and secures herself an interview for later that day.

When she arrives at the interview she is met by Diamantina (Luisa Gavasa),Elisa’s mother, who promptly sits her down with greets her with some tea.  When they are chatting about the job, we hear child-like giggling, and the sound of footsteps running up and down the hall, as if a child was excited by the sound of a new visitor in their apartment. This is accompanied by some atmospheric, and eerie music that distorts ever-so-slightly, every time we hear the laughter or footsteps…and that was damn nice touch!

The apartment where they live is dark and gloomy. Dull artificial light fills the rooms from lamps, with no natural daylight breaking though. The dark apartment is furnished with the ugliest and oldest looking dolls ,that are all in immaculate condition. The dolls are very precious and the mother shows a much more violent side when Ana brushes her hand against one.

The mother reminded me of the legendary, Madame Moselle from Pascal Laugier’s, Martyrs. She had that same sort of look and played a terrifying and unpredictable performance as Elisa’s mother.

Unfortunately things are not looking good for Ana. Before she gets introduced to Elisa (played brilliantly by Ana Turpin) – the mother informs her that Elisa has not left the house before, and that the dolls are her close friends .

Ana quickly changes her mind about the job and realises that something ain’t right when she see’s Elisa for the first time playing in her bedroom….Elisa is not a child!. Ana becomes increasingly worried, tries to refuse the job and get out of the apartment, but it’s already too late.

Para Elisa is a great horror movie that uses a playful, child-like premise, and quickly turns it into a something dark and sinister, drawing inspiration from classic films like Misery, and more recently, Ti West’s, House Of The Devil.

The cinematography and camera work is stunning. Even though this is almost entirely set inside a small claustrophobic apartment – the camera angles, gore, and superb sound fx and original score are enough to keep us glued to our seat, wondering what is going to happen next

Outstanding directorial début from newcomer Juanra Fernandez, I am looking forward to seeing more features from this team, and intrigued to know what sort of film they could produce if they had unlimted resources to do so

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