Musaranas (2014)

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When I first browsed the plot description of Musaranas I must admit that I thought I was going to endure, rather than enjoy, it. Two sisters share a home together, with one of them being severely agoraphobic. And things are about to get tense. That’s all I gathered from the summary that I skimmed. I thought that I may end up sitting through another riff on Repulsion. And, please don’t share this factoid with too many people around you, I’m not the biggest fan of Repulsion.

Thankfully, I have learned to never let my preconceptions completely dissuade me from seeing any movie. Musaranas also featured a lead performance from the ever-reliable Macarena Gomez. And a mere minute or two into the movie allowed me to see that it was endorsed by Alex de la Iglesia, which was another good sign (considering that I have liked everything he has done so far, from those that I’ve seen).

Gomez and Nadia de Santiago are the ladies portraying the two sisters, with the former being the fragile woman suffering from agoraphobia. She’s also the older of the two, and determined to look out for her little sister. And she may be slightly unbalanced, when it comes to her mental state. After a slow, steady start, things really start to get interesting when a handsome man (Carlos, played by Hugo Silva) literally lands on their doorstep. New secrets are kept, old ones are revealed, and the whole situation looks set to implode at any moment.

Directors Juanfer Andres and Esteban Roel don’t set out to shatter any genre conventions here, simply focusing on great storytelling and interesting characters instead. Fans of thrillers and horror movies will know where things are heading from the first few scenes, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable, especially with the smooth camerawork on display and a number of entertaining exchanges between some of the main characters.

Gomez is the star turn here, although that shouldn’t lead you to believe that anyone else is slouching. On the contrary, de Santiago, Silva, Luis Tosar, Gracia Olayo and Carolina Bang all do great work portraying a variety of characters that find themselves tangled up in a bizarre, and increasingly dangerous, situation. The reactions, and interactions, are all different, and all feel entirely appropriate according to the ways of the characters.

Deserving winner of the Best Feature award at Dead By Dawn 2015, Musaranas is one to keep an eye out for. While perhaps a little too old-fashioned for anyone seeking quick and easy thrills, I can only assure you that patience is rewarded with a rich, layered experience (that also has one or two moments of enjoyable bloodletting for those who always feel better for seeing some of the red stuff on display).

DIRECTOR: JUANFER ANDRES, ESTEBAN ROEL
WRITER: JUANFER ANDRES, SOFIA CUENCA, ORIGINAL IDEA BY EMMA TUSELL
STARS: MACARENA GOMEZ, NADIA DE SANTIAGO, HUGO SILVA, LUIS TOSAR, GRACIA OLAYO, CAROLINA BANG
RUNTIME: 95 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: SPAIN/FRANCE

Film Rating: ★★★★☆

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