WARNING: This Article May Contain Spoilers
Second to probably Japanese horrors, those that come out of Spain are possibly some of the scariest and my favourites. I’m going to talk about this a few times in this article so I’ll get it out the way now very quickly (but be warned, I will repeat myself I’m sure), there’s two things that I’ve found the Spanish seem to do better than anyone else, jump scares and found footage films.
Candle for the Devil
I think a lot of people will watch this film and wonder why it’s considered as a horror film but I think that’s because the idea of what is terrifying has changed with the decades. I feel the current generation of horror fans expect blood to be spilt every five minutes and jump-scares the rest of the time but you will see from this film that this was not the case in the 70s. I think the quote at the beginning describes this film very well, sinners who believe themselves righteous and religion, or things that were seen as an affront to such, was a common theme in foreign horror – especially in catholic countries like Spain. Yes, I get that was probably the whole point of the quote being used in the first place but still. I actually quite enjoyed this film for the dark simplicity of it because it all begins with an accident.
I think I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this film. However, I still jump at the same points EVERYTIME! I know they’re coming, but that doesn’t mean a thing – I still flinch. Obviously I’m not going to say which parts but those of you who have seen this before may know which ones I’m talking about. In my opinion that’s what makes this a great film, because you can watch it over and over and the scares still work. Unfortunately this isn’t the same for its American remake (I’m not going to into that now, because I’ve already talked about it in a previous article).
Remember what I said about Spanish films and religion? Well, this one is literally based around one of the seven deadly sins – gluttony. Again, this is a good film because of its simplicity. Some may complain that not a lot happens but honestly bear with it because it’s honestly a really good film. Like I said – horror isn’t always about blood and guts (not that this film isn’t short of that at certain points) and being scared. Sometimes it can just really make you think and this film definitely does that – especially at the end. I’m not going to go into too much detail but I do wonder if anyone has, or will, view it in the same way that I did.
For me, this film is a little bit Cloverfield meets Paranormal Activity. Both found footage films I know but the latter doesn’t have those little snippets of lighter videos like the former and this film just seems to bring the two together in such a brilliant way. I’ll be honest, I jumped from the moment the title appeared (yeah, laugh all you want – wait until you watch the film). Honestly, I was hooked from beginning to end. It made me jump, had me staring at the screen wondering what in the world I just saw and even made me a little uncomfortable at times.
As you’ll know from previous articles, I love a comedy-horror. Supposedly that is what this film should be. For me, it is more the former than the latter. For it to be a comedy-horror, there needs to be emphasis on the horror as well as the comedy and this film definitely did not do that. What’s annoying about that is that the opening sets you up for something completely different to what you actually get. Now, I’m not saying that it’s a bad film because it isn’t, I just don’t believe that it should be referred to as a comedy-horror because there’s absolutely nothing remotely scary about it.
Side note: Be prepared to get a little bit confused though.
Watching this film, at first I couldn’t work out if she was possessed or something was just tormenting her. I’m not going to explain the outcome as I still don’t one hundred percent understand what I was watching and I always prefer my readers to make their own conclusions when they watch the film themselves. Anyway, to think that this is based, as they say, loosely on true events just reinstills my feelings towards Ouija boards and séances – don’t mess with stuff that you don’t understand! It isn’t a game! I’m not saying I believe in all this stuff but there’s no harm in staying away from it all just in case, right? It’s possibly the first horror film to nearly make me cry but I think that’s because the ending is filled with so much emotion.