Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Across the River (Oltre il guado )
Ethologist* Marco Contrado roams the woods in a remote Italian hillside in order to catalogue the movements of nocturnal wildlife. Using small cameras mounted on the animals enables him to study their behavior. While reviewing footage he is surprised to find that something is killing the animals. One day he stumbles across two bloody dresses in a river. Crossing the river to investigate leads him to an abandoned village. Deciding to set up camp in the village proves to be a mistake when heavy rain floods the river and traps him. Wandering around the creepy village (mostly at night for some reason) he soon learns that he is not alone. In a parallel story a rescue mission searches for him (mostly at night for some reason). Slowly Marco begins to understand the true nature of the danger he has encountered.
I really enjoyed this! Make no mistake; this is a very slow burn. Most of the film is Marco wandering around a Silent Hill-like town piecing together a very old mystery. He is essentially the only character and there is very little dialogue. The soundtrack is quiet and creepy and effectively ratchets up the dread of his situation. There is clearly a Lynchian influence here (including a black lodge) as well as Blair Witch undertones. This is the kind of film that you either love or hate. I prefer slow horror films with creepy ambiance rather than in-your-face jump-scares. This is the perfect film to watch alone in the dark with the sound turned up.
*the study of animal behavior