White Coffin (2016) [FrightFest 2016]

white-coffinVirginia and her daughter Rebeca have left behind husband and father respectively.  When Rebeca is kidnapped, Virginia must play a disturbing and violent game to get her back.  She must see how far she is ready to go to save her daughter. Written by Adrian Garcia Bogliano and Ramiro Garcia Bogliano, the film is directed by Daniel de la Vega.  Together, they create more of a thriller with horror elements than a flat out horror film.

However, no matter the genre it falls under, it works.  The character of Virginia is made to be a strong mother who has to get even stronger to save her child.  Her relationship with her child works on screen but a mistake early in the story shows that some leaps of faith are necessary to truly enjoy the story.  Once the big one of these leaps is passed, everything works within the film’s world.  Besides the smaller issues, the film builds good tension and the chase scenes are solid.  The enigma behind why Rebeca , and others, was taken is satisfying while its conclusion should surprise a few.

Lead actress Julieta Cardinali as Virginia shows strength and the power of a mother when faced with the task of saving her child.  She shows this through many silent scenes, her capacity to bring emotions though without words is commendable.  Playing the mysterious man who helps Virginia, Mason, actor Rafael Ferro brings multiple layers to his character making difficult to tell if the character is good or bad or somewhere in the middle, the way he delivers some of his lines so matter-of-fact-ly shows a great control of his craft.  Playing Rebeca, the kidnapped daughter, is child actress Fiorela Duranda who shows great promise as she shows as much talent and know-how as the adults around her.  The child’s performance adds a gut-punch to some of her scenes.

The film is an Argentinian production and it shows the countryside beautifully with a very grey, fall-like weather throughout.  The cinematography by Alejandro Giuliani is a bit dark, very grey, while looking beautiful.  The way he frames the car chase, the mom in her battle to save her child, and once crucial scene that will break your heart is both perfectly connected to the material and restrained when needed.  His work adds a lot to the film.

White Coffin is a powerful story of how far a mother will go to save her child, how she will deal with everything that is thrown at her.  It’s an emotional ride with good tension, very good acting, and ok special effects.  The ending is surprising a bit and yet it makes sense with the rest of the movie and some of the clues, whether noticed or not on first watch, peppered throughout the film.