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In the new Spanish horror film Para Elisa, a young woman is nearing the end of her year at university when she realizes that she is too broke to pay for tickets to attend the class trip. After a heated exchange with her mother and drug dealing ex-boyfriend, she takes a job as a babysitter only to find out that the woman who placed the ad has deceived her. What follows is a tortuous series of events that leave our main character bruised, bloodied and broken.

Para Elisa is brutal. The film starts off strong with decent pacing and performances, and it’s refreshing to see this Spanish made film utilize younger talented actors who can actually deliver on screen, but when the shit of the film hits the fan, key elements of the film begin to unravel real quick. The first act looks great with our main characters placed in visually appealing locations in hills overlooking Spanish vistas, though when we move to our indoor location for the remainder of the film, the editing and cinematography seem to get away from the filmmakers.

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Ana, our main protagonist played by Ona Casamiquela, takes a job interview as a babysitter only to be drugged and bound when she discovers that the girl she would be tending to is in fact a grown woman with a violent mental disorder. Elisa and her mother live in a Spanish townhouse that apparently has the thickest concrete walls in the continent because for the entirety of the second and third acts, there is nothing but screaming and torture going on, and it is grueling to say the least.

With solid performances early on from Ona Casamiquela, Sheila Ponce as Ana’s best friend and Jesús Caba as former boyfriend Alex, the film has plenty of great work being done on screen, but the already thin premise seems stretched for time and even then never seems to come to a full resolve. Even an unexpected cameo from incredibly talented Spanish actor Enrique Villén can’t save this film from it’s poor pacing, weak editing and underwhelming story. In the end there are plenty better ways to enjoy Für Elise than this.

Hawkins’ Rating: 


Out of a Possible 5 Stars

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