Terrified, existing as one of the earlier Shudder exclusives, is a a supernatural horror film from Argentina that has seen a fair amount of accolades – it has been sitting on my watchlist for some time. Resolved to delve deeper into exclusives to the streaming service, I decided this was the best place to start.
What is It?
Directed by Demian Rugna, Terrified follows police commissioner Funes, and three researchers of supernatural phenomenon, as they investigate inexplicable events that are occurring in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. Little do they realize, the four are about to face an evil malicious force unlike anything ever seen before.
Terrified wastes no time in getting into the gorey goodness, with a macabre scene of a woman being lifted and slammed repeatedly into a wall by an unseen force. As her face caves in and turns to pulp, her husband can only scream as he becomes covered in the blood of his wife after realizing he can’t stop the painful death – it is one hell of a way to kick off a horror film. So, where do we go from there? A short reprise to develop some plot is needed, but the viewer is quickly dragged back into the realm of pure evil whose inhabitants crave death to help build their numbers. It is chaotic, gruesome and no-nonsense in approach – a delectably dark experience for those who seek out non-stop horror.
Thankfully, Terrified does not just rely on jump scares (though there are quite a few) to put the viewer on edge. Arguably, the production is at its most unnerving when the viewer is led to wonder what might happen. For example, faced with the still and rotting corpse of a young child who is believed to have clawed his way out of his grave to give a ghastly vision. Essentially, the film balances atmosphere and shock to make those loud audio stings and creature reveals land without feeling ‘cheap’ – not a single screeching cat in sight.
When utilized, the practical effects are executed with morbid detail. As seen in the image below, the rotting corpse is so unsettling that even the slightest movement from the abomination conjures a sense dread. In addition, there is a great scene where commissioner Funes is confronted by a weird distorted figure running up to his car that will catch most off guard – one of those wonderous ‘what the f*** was that’ moments.
Technically, the film is optimized for horror with an intense score and cinematography that knows when to linger on horror or quickly pan away just to give a quick jolt. The performances are well rounded, but Maxi Ghione as Funes is a standout in the way he deals with the shock of the unbelievable – the paranormal investigators try to take it in stride.
What Did Not Work?
Mixing elements of practical effects with CGI, the production falters when relying on special over practical effects. Consequently, certain moments don’t land with the severity they are trying to convey and in one instance looks rather silly. However, these moments don’t really take you out of the film or the scenario, just moments of being kind of underwhelmed by execution.
At the time of writing this, I am still uncertain about how I feel about the ending, and it is undeniable that it will annoy some viewers. It certainly won’t ruin the experience, but the flat landing is likely to keep it from being a perfect film for anyone.
Where Can I watch It?
As a Shudder exclusive, your only option to check this one out is going to be on the streaming service. The film does exist on a DVD release, though, if you want to grab a physical from Amazon.
Ideal for those looking for a few good scares, Terrified is an unrelenting experience that won’t disappoint! Sure, it may lack depth and at times the CGI is shoddy, but the end experience is one of dark delight I am excited to visit again in the future. Sadly, director Demin Rugna has not made another film since this 2017 release. I would love to see Rugna expand on the world he crafted here.
Ultimately, I enjoyed my time with Terrified, and if you are looking for a truly frightening experience track this one down!
Greetings, My name is Adam and I am from Canada.
My love for all things bizarre came at a young age, as boredom in a small town lead me down a rabbit hole of obscure film, music, tv and literature. I have carried these fascinations with and turned it into a passion for writing, sharing and discussing the various arts.
My area of expertise, if there was one, would be geared towards Asian horror with a particular interest in film and manga. However, if it is odd, disturbing or trashy I probably heard of it or can at least pretend I have in conversation.
Thank you for taking the time to read my work, I always look to grow both as a writer and fan. I truly appreciate anyone willing to come along for the journey and share their passions in turn.