Los Parecidos (The Similars) (2015) [FrightFest 2016]

LosParecidosOctober 2nd, 1968, a group of people is stranded in a bus station by a deluge that is hitting around the world.  As tensions rise within the group, something begins to happen to them.  Something odd and possibly supernatural is happened around and to them.  As they become more and more paranoid, they start looking for a culprit, someone to blame, someone to accuse.

Writer/director Isaac Ezban builds a stylized tale of paranoia and imagination gone wrong.  The characters he creates with his cast here are a varied as can be, each having a different background and reason to be at the bus station.  Each character is thought out and detailed making them more human and easy to care for when things go very weird.  The way he builds the film around them, their interactions, and their conversations works very well in creating a sense of fear and paranoia.

The cast is led in more ways than one by Gustavo Sanchez Parra as Ulises.  His performance is central to the film and he does great, showing a wide range of emotions throughout the film.  Supporting him and giving one of the best performances in a group of strong actors is Cassandra Ciangnerotti as Irene.  She gives an emotional performance and pulls the viewer in as a sweet and desperate pregnant woman only trying to survive for her child.  Her interest is not only of herself and it’s mainly and almost only for her unborn child which sets her apart from the rest of the cast.

With special effects by Sergio Jara and visual effects by Franz A. Novotny, the film builds a surreal situation that will not be spoiled here as it is grandiose and fantastic as it is revealed slowly.  The effects in this film are of the utmost importance for the full effect of it all to work.  Without great special and visual effects, the reveal would not have the same bang.

Also very important in Los Parecidos is the look of, well, everything.  The film is shot in black and white and looks lush with cinematography by Isi Sarfati who shoots it like an old school film or photograph.  Teaming up with this are the production design by Patricia De Burgos, the costume design by Eloise Kazan, and the art department headed by coordinator Elena Hernandez Paz, each of these department brings their specialty and talent to the film, building a look that is coherent and correct for 1968 Mexico.  It all ends up feeling right for the film, it all makes sense together.

Los Parecidos is a beautiful looking, paranoia laden Mystery/Sci-Fi cross over that feels almost like an old Twilight Zone episode made by a talented crew of cinema lovers with modern effects.  The attention to details is great and adds a lot to the story and its development.  The acting is good and the secrets are revealed in a manner that keeps the attention and keep the viewer wanting more.  The ending is just about perfect for the film and its story style.