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Sadly Sadistic Spanish Horror ‘For Elisa’ is a Piece of Art All its Own (Review)

elisa-still2 Written by: Matt Molgaard Juanra Fernández’s For Elisa (Para Elisa) travels on identical cautionary tracks that Ti West’s The House of the Devil utilized in 2009. In fact, they both share a number of overall similarities, as Ana, the picture’s lead (played to sassy perfection by Ona Casamiquela) follows a parallel path to that of The House of the Devil’s Samantha in that they’re both on the cusp of graduation, they both need a job, they both pursue a babysitting position for a complete stranger, and they both walk into an essentially inescapable nightmare. Having said all that, Ana is a radically different, far more rogue individual than Samantha was, and For Elisa is definitely no copycat film. There’s an eerie story at work here and while there appear to be some stylistic influences employed, it’s a piece of art all its own.

For Elisa

Ana’s babysitting gig goes south immediately. She’s drugged and held against her will before even meeting Elisa (again, another amazing performance that this time comes courtesy of Ana Turpin, Casamiquela’s complete counterpart), who turns out to be the strangest girl Ana’s ever seen. She’s likely the most violent as well, but it takes an hour or so before Ana discovers that for herself. Can a hazy college kid survive a violent onslaught, or will Ana become little more than another doll that just didn’t entertain as Elisa had hoped for?

For Elisa is beautifully shot with camera angles and lighting techniques that conjure memories of suspenseful works of the 1970s. The aesthetics are absolutely amazing, as each shot is crystal clear and respectfully artsy. You don’t require an IQ of 150 to understand the intricacies of the filming process, but you can see that a blueprint was developed for the shoot. One glance and it’s abundantly clear that a very gifted cinematographer, editor and camera man were hire to handle the task. For Elisa is too beautiful to be shot by anything other than a true professional.

That said, I did have one single problem with the film: the choreography of the action sequences. At times the timing and physicality of sequences looks… off. The good news is, that’s little more than a slight bump in the road. Ultimately the film starts on an extremely eerie note and ends with a bloody, grim bang that will leave viewers sitting in stunned silence. For Elisa, even if not entirely perfect, is an enthralling sliver of cinema that genre fans need to see.

Rating: 3.5/5

About The Overseer (2283 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

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