In his latest offering, the Argentinian director Daniel de la Vega takes us into some delightfully juicy territory.
***½ out of *****
Who in their right mind doesn’t love George Sluizer’s 1988 shocker The Vanishing (aka Spoorloos)? It’s the Dutch suspense classic in which a man obsessively searches for his girlfriend who disappears without a trace at a roadside pitstop. As great and perfect as Sluizer’s picture is, Argentinian director Daniel de la Vega (working from a zanily inspired screenplay by the Bogliano Brothers) takes us into some delightfully juicy territory in White Coffin, which enjoyed its World Premiere at Fantasia 2016 in Montreal.
Imagine The Vanishing, wherein a smelly guy is substituted with a hot babe searching for her sweet little girl amongst a sect of evil-infused torture-hounds. Add plenty of supernatural frissons, a wham-bam no-nonsense 70-minute running time and some to-die-for action and you get the rich cocktail of powerful 100-proof homebrew that is White Coffin.
Shaken, of course. Not stirred. Belt it back and allow your nerves to be jangled and definitely not soothed.
Virginia (Julieta Cardinali) is taking a powder from her abusive hubby with cute-as-a-button daughter Rebecca (Fiorela Duranda) in tow. Hightailing it across the Pampas, the duo encounter a strange fork-in-the-road from which they’re warned off by Mason (Rafael Ferro), a hunky gaucho who appears to be taking far too much interest in them. When they arrive at a pitstop on the highway, the worst thing any parent can imagine occurs. Sweet little Rebecca disappears without a trace.
Luckily for Virginia (and mostly for the audience), she spots a glimpse of her daughter through the window of a souped-up tow truck and we’re treated to one of the most delightfully hair-raising chase scenes I’ve seen in sometime. (It’s up there with the recent and decidedly overblown Jason Bourne chases, but happily sans the herky-jerky of that otherwise dull blockbuster.)
There’s no point ruining some of the surprises in store, suffice to say that the outcome of the chase brings a return of Gaucho Mason who mysteriously appears ever so often to dispense cryptic advice and guide our hot heroine through a labyrinth of horror and suspense, which also involves a dangerous game played by two other hot mamas also missing their kids.
All I will promise you is white knuckle suspense, a perplexing puzzle of evil, a passel of devil-worshipping inbreds, detailed instructions on how to build a white coffin (in case you should need this yourself whilst vacationing in lovely Argentina), vice-like direction to manage all these elements of horror and, most importantly, you will enjoy some first-rate cat fights, with babes, naturally. The latter treat is like a jarful of maraschino cherries dumped into this mega-fun concoction of witches’ brew.