Yesterday we went for a French classic that subtly unnerved you with mood and methodical pacing. Today, I’m pulling the rug out from under you and going with a full-fledged bonkers scare factory. Aterrados (or Terrified, as it was released in the states) is one of the most nonstop, fear-filled films I’ve seen in a while. It is so full of incredible scares that you yearn for the quiet moments just to catch your breath. The problem is, there aren’t many quiet moments. There’s ALWAYS something ready to scare you further. Even though the film has a brisk sub-90 minute runtime, it can feel like a marathon by the time it’s over because of how many times you lost and caught your breath. Terrified is a simple story on the surface, but tells it in a very non-simple way. Basically, a few houses in a neighborhood are apparently haunted. Each one has a slightly different issue going on, but equally scary. A few older paranormal investigator types come to check it out, and try to figure out what’s going on. Seems simple enough. But not so fast… See, the stories play out in kind of a nonlinear fashion. Think of little aspects of Pulp Fiction how sometimes you see the reaction to something first, and later find out the origin of it to a much more disturbing effect. Now, because of this, it does kind of have an episodic feel, which some claim to be a detriment, but I actually quite liked. Even though this is a tried-and-true supernatural territory, so much of this movie felt fresh to me. Some of the scares are so masterfully crafted that I wanted to slow clap after a few of them. There is a unique “you can see it from one angle, but you can’t from another” gimmick that I won’t ruin, but is played to an incredible effect. The scare at the fence made my blood run cold (you’ll know it when you see it.) Oh man, sometimes you just need to watch a movie that fully tests how scared you can actually feel. This is one of those movies. Unless you are the hardest of souls, I guarantee everyone will get scared in this film at least once… but realistically, you’ll get scared a HELL of a lot more than that.
*This movie is streaming on Shudder.