The Influence (2019)
Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director(s): Denis Rovira van Boekholt
Writers(s): Michel Gaztambide, Daniel Rissech, et. al.
Producer(s): Ricardo Marco Budé, David Ciurana, et. al.
Date Released: October 11, 2019 (USA)
Manuela Vellés as Alicia
Maggie Civantos as Sara
Alain Hernández as Mikel
Emma Suárez as Victoria
Claudia Placer as Nora
Daniela Rubio as Luna
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The film begins with Alicia (Manuela Vellés), her husband Mikel (Alain Hernández), and her daughter Nora (Claudia Placer) traveling to her childhood home. They are greeted by Alicia’s sister Sara (Maggie Civantos) who tells Alicia how their mother has been. Their mother, Victoria (Emma Suárez), is in a coma and is not able to speak. However, Alicia can’t help but recall dark childhood memories that involved her mother. Meanwhile, Nora makes friends with a little girl named Luna (Daniela Rubio) who later plays a factor in the family’s misfortunes.
Since this is a film that revolves around a family and a dying woman, you wouldn’t think that La Influencia has any gore – but wait until the latter part of the movie and you will be proven wrong. As the young Victoria would use small body parts to manipulate children, expect some bloody tooth-pulling and cringey nail-cutting – but that’s not all. Watch out for the scene where one of the characters kills another by hitting her face with a shovel many times. Seeing the character’s face transition from a mere bloody one to a nauseatingly beaten one will surely make you flinch in disgust. Oh, and expect 10-year-old Nora to soon be extremely brutal as well.
The Grave Review
One thing I easily noticed during the first few minutes of the movie was how it would mirror the present day to Alicia’s childhood. You will see resemblances between the two periods – making it clear why Alicia would quickly reminisce the past. From the first time we see Alicia’s interaction with Victoria, we already know their relationship as mother and daughter – cruel, harsh, and heartless.
The Influence (2019) starts at a slow pace. The first thirty minutes was all about dropping hints that Victoria is unnerving – but that pacing is all we need to understand that she is nowhere near an ordinary mother. Apart from the slow pacing, the movie also had a slow manifestation of scares. Instead of engaging the audience with jump scares and unnecessary surprises, this movie used creepy sights that would briefly appear in the background.
Those who think that jump scares are cheap will most likely appreciate the creepy sights in this movie. The quick appearances of images behind the characters are enough for the viewers to believe that something eerie is definitely present in the house – no need for shocking and scream-inducing scares.
For most of the movie, Alicia and Sara kept dropping hints about their troubled past, but we will only get clear answers during the latter part. This tactic is a way to keep the audience glued to their seats and keep them predicting what actually happened, which is a good approach. However, despite the clear storytelling of the past, some elements of the present still prompt some questions – where exactly did Luna come from? How exactly did Victoria acquire her powers? How did Victoria’s being exist in two human bodies at the same time?
These questions stem from significant elements of the film, so it’s quite distressing that the audience was still left with missing answers.
I would, however, commend the acting and the sound effects in this movie. This is the kind of movie that you would want to finish just so you will understand the history of their struggles. The sound effects, including Victoria’s slow breaths through the breathing machine, added to the movie’s quality. Hearing her voice can also send chills down your spine.
While the acting, sound effects, and scares were worth the praise, it is quite upsetting that the ending was not mind-blowing. The ending was pretty common for a plot like this.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Influence (2019) three graves out of five graves.
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