|Blood Curse (2006)|
|Director:||Tiago Guedes amd Frederico Serra|
|Writers:||Rodrigo Guedes de Carvalho|
|Starring:||Adriano Luz, Manuela Couto and Sara Carinhas|
|The Plot: Xavier (Adriano Luz), a professor of sorts, is at a very strange point in his life. A midlife crisis of sorts, Xavier manages to convince his wife Helena (Manuela Couto) and kids to movie away from the city life of Lisbon and take up a new life in an inherited home in the backwoods of Portugal. His family relationships could certainly use some work, and this may be the most opportune time. The oldest son is ready to break away and decides to stay in Lisbon in order to complete college, the youngest son is a bit of a loner who is trying to overcome his fear of the dark, and their teenage daughter feels like a black sheep ever since having a child out of wedlock. Slightly more frightening than all of this family life drama, this strange new community is rife with mystical rumors. The people in this small town believe that the home that Xavier and his family have just moved into may be haunted, and rumors of werewolves and witchery has the small family on edge. Within this new dream home the family find themselves stumbling across strange sights and eerie noises, but what could cause such a haunting? Xavier and his wife Helena will soon find out that this small town has a past that is more haunted than their new home.|
Although there are certainly differences in style, with Blood Curse I can’t help but find myself reminded of several Spanish horrors that have become popular within recent years. Blood Curse may be the first film I have ever seen from Portugal, but it seems that the nation has been taking notes when it comes to this influx of Spanish horror within the past decade. There are definitely vague traces of The Devil’s Backbone and The Ophanage found within this film. What makes the work so reminiscent of one another, aside from the very similar post-production color correction, is the slow buildup towards a classic sense of “horror.” Even if the “horror” may inevitably prove to be a false alarm within the context of the movie. These films seem to harken back to horror titles from the seventies and early eighties. These older pieces of horror that I refer to seemed to pay very close attention to detail and atmosphere. Films such as The Changeling, The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby (as well as the previously mentioned Spanish films, by proxy) all had a focus on building up their innate sense of dread before eventually pulling the rug from beneath the audience toward the back end of their film. Unfortunately Blood Curse becomes a bit muddled and doesn’t quite have the commitment one might expect. Despite these things, I must confess, it still remains a very engaging watch.