Brought straight from Spain, we just saw “Para Elisa” (For Elisa) an interesting suspense film written and directed by Juanra Fernandez, which has been on festivals for quite some time, and it will be released on DVD and VOD on September 1st.
In “Para Elisa” we meet Ana, a student that while looking for ways to get the money needed for her post-graduation trip, decides to answer to an add from a house looking for a baby sitter to take care of a child, as well as to entertain her and play with her. On her job interview, Ana meets Mrs Diamantina, and eccentric retired piano artist that now collects dolls, and everything seems to go well, until Ana discovers that the child that she was supposed to look after, is in fact a full grown woman like herself with a severe mental illness, Ana declines the job offer, but before she can leave the house, she starts to loose consciousness and it's clear to us that Diamantina has decided that she is the perfect companion for her daughter, and that she will stay whether Ana agrees or not.
Is a little bit hard to keep talking about the plot without falling into spoilers, not only because the story is very simple and without any big twist, but also because the running time barely hits the 70 minutes mark. The film, however has an interesting story with a couple of surprises, that will keep us at the edge of our seat from the moment Ana is hired (against her will, mind you) till the last frame of the movie.
The acting of the main cast is very good, and they easily sell you their characters without going over the top, a mistake that so many people make with the excuse of playing somebody falling into madness. There are several scenes portraying violence, but most of them occur off-screen, leaving to the imagination what is happening to some characters, in a manner that was even more unsettling than actually showing the gore, thanks in part to very good sound effects. But make no mistake, although this film at no moment goes into “Torture Porn” territory, it doesn't mean that we won't see blood and mutilations on the screen.
Another important aspect of the film was the musical score (aside of the classical pieces) Pascual Vazquez's work was more than effective not only on the film, but also on the opening credits sequence. It made Ana's captivity even more unsettling, and complemented the feeling of dread I felt when it was clear that nobody knew what happened to her, or when we see how her boyfriend Alex can't convince the authorities that she might be in danger.
While I think that “Para Elisa” might not become an instant classic among my gore hound friends, is a very good film worth a watch and highly recommended for fans of thriller and suspense without overcomplicated plots and unnecessary characters. The story itself could be adapted into a play since it has very few locations (and you can take out a couple more) and is very short without tons of filler, which leaves me with mixed feelings, because while I wanted to see more action and know more about “other candidates” (not to mention an under used vagrant character) I think the film works so well because ti tells you all you need to know without over explaining or padding the story.
With a cast that includes Ana Turpin , Ona Casamiquela, Luisa Gavasa, Jesús Caba, Sheila Ponce, Pep Anton Muñoz, Enrique Villén and Pablo Viña among others, “Para Elisa” will be released on DVD and VOD September 1st.