Resurrection / Resurrección (dir. Gonzalo Calzada, 2016) – A young priest returns home to help the sick during the 1871 yellow fever epidemic.
Argentinian horror Resurrection makes a nightmarish impression and delivers shivers with atmospheric dread, though some may find its pace crawling.
During a plague, young priest Aparicio (Martin Slipak) returns home only to find the estate abandoned and his family consumed by madness. His afflicted brother is dying, his sister-in-law speaks of the devil’s curse and his niece is locked in behind chapel doors.
The ostensible contagion soon unveils its darker leanings as Aparicio struggles to keep his faith. But the occult and family secrets become the least of his worries whe he starts to ail.
A 19th century backdrop lends Resurrection a portentous setting, smothered in fog and shadows in Gothic horror tradition. Speculations surround the lone surviving and duplicitous servant Quispe (Patricio Conteras), who keeps up the air of mystery in a potentially trite supernatural tale.
Reliant on build-up rather than jarring noises, the slow burn is not for everyone. But its lasting perceptible dread will please genre fans. Trudging towards the truth, a moody atmosphere fulfils its full intent to daunt and intrigue. Director Gonzalo Calzada’s craft of suspense is exceptional, if only hindered by a modest budget.
Martin Slipak as Aparicio is superb. Even as the plot runs thin from repetition, his portrayed tenacity makes one sympathetic to his chilling predicament. Agonising in the throes of the incurable illness, he suffers not only debilitation but isolation. Such palpable solitude challenges his religious conviction, convincingly threatening his remaining hope.
His unsettling fever dream continually blurs the line between reality and visions. Nothing profound however comes of the overt theological themes behind his priesthood. The feeling of impending doom hitherto evanesces in an instant as the third act sees an unsubtle final confrontation of evil.
The finale is light on impact. Its return to ritual conventions banishes expectations of a more striking conclusion to an otherwise remarkable movie. This remains one to watch for psychological horror fans, clamouring for a break from lazy jump scares.
Resurrection is available on Netflix.