Penumbra

2011, Horror/Mystery & thriller, 1h 25m

5 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

A greedy, arrogant woman (Cristina Brondo) thinks she's hit the jackpot when she agrees to rent an apartment to a sinister client for several times what the property is worth.

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Critic Reviews for Penumbra

Audience Reviews for Penumbra

  • Jul 25, 2013
    <B><I>PENUMBRA</I> (2011)</B> Argentina, English subtitles WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Adrián García Bogliano, and Ramiro García Bogliano FEATURING: Cristina Brondo, Camila Bordonaba, Berta Muñiz, Arnaldo André, Mirella Pascual, Victoria Witemburg, Diego Cremonesi, Gustavo Garzón GENRE: <B>OCCULT THRILLER</B> TAGS: decapitation, human sacrifice RATING: <B>7 PINTS OF BLOOD</B> PLOT: <B>On the day of a full solar eclipse, a young businesswoman showing an apartment finds that it attracts an unusual clientele, with designs on more than just the unit itself.</B> COMMENTS: This is the second unique, high quality thriller I've discovered this year that turned out to be from Argentina, the first being PHASE 7, which I will highlight next time. Filmmakers, the Bogliano brothers, have come a long way from their last film, a disturbing, unfocused effort entitled COLD SWEAT, about abduction and captivity at the hands of a couple of aging serial killers who murder their victims by blowing pieces of them off with nitroglycerin. Penumbra begins as a perverse psychological thriller, builds like a mystery, then turns a crimson corner into the panic territory of violence and the occult. Along the way, we're kept guessing. One can't determine where the truth lies. Unsettling is the use of sunlight to build a sense of foreboding. So many horror films depend upon twilight and gloom to blur the line between fantasy and reality. In Penumbra, the sun itself is somehow knowing and conspiratorial. With Penumbra, the Bogliano brothers have created something fresh and interesting. With a hint of foreshadowing, the film's cross-genre approach throws us off-balance. We don't know where this story is going, so every turn it makes is a surprise. It doesn't shock us with spine-tingling chills, but it makes us uneasy and has a genuine creep-out factor that only becomes more disturbing upon its downbeat denouement. The story keeps building and building, adding unexpected elements and creating pressure like a tensile-strength test. The situation into which the protagonist entraps herself becomes increasingly brittle. We wonder what event is going to transpire to create the inevitable sickening shatter as the bottom drops out in little pieces. Penumbra isn't profound, but it's solid. Its characters are credible, the dialogue is simple and effective, there's no awkward exposition -the story tells itself at it unfolds. There's nothing far-fetched about the plot, which takes its cue from familiar events, but utilizes them in a such a way that we get a story which is unfamiliar. Viewers looking for a change from the routine, but who prefer an effective, conventionally-shot film that's easy to follow, will enjoy Penumbra and wish to keep an eye on future efforts from Adrián and Ramiro Bogliano. In the story, Margo (Brondo) a Barcelona entrepreneur pursuing a project in Beunos Aires, is having a peculiar day. Everything is a little off-kilter, from canceled appointments and business ambiguities, to just plain odd run-ins with panhandling soothsayers which escalate into misunderstandings with the authorities. Throughout it all flows a droll undercurrent of the absurd, as if the day can't get any weirder, that later it will be merely an anecdote to be laughed at. Adding to the irksome ambiance is a blazing white-hot solar furnace in a cloudless, azure sky. It's hot today, and unusually bright. Margo's not the only one to notice it. Something strange and troublesome is in the air as the sun creeps across the heavens toward an inevitable rendezvous with a scheduled solar eclipse Margo has invested in an apartment which she is showing. There's a quality that's not quite right about the prospective tenants. They're stalling, and while receiving them, Margo's keys disappear. Her cellphone minutes vanish. Because the door to the security building locks both ways. Margo can't get out, and help can't get in. Her clients begin to behave increasingly strangely. They are determined to buy. Margo is fiercely intent to sell. So why then can't they seem to finalize the transaction? A chain of events transpires, each in quick succession, yet the afternoon drags by. Margo begins to languish, and it's as if the day's events are suspended in a timeless ether, going nowhere -slowly. Other things start to go disturbingly wrong. Strange noises, a neighbor may be trying to drug or poison Margo, and the apartment's pantry door is stuck. Through the keyhole, Margo can see an oblong burlap bundle. Is it moving? Is she going mad? Something funny is going on, but Margo's not laughing. In fact, there's something funny about the apartment itself. It has a history which predates the very edifice, a secret, which obfuscated in the shadows of masonry and mortar for ages, has been waiting to reveal itself in the affirming light of some sunny day. And look! The sun is coming up!
    Pamela D Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2012
    Part of me really wanted to like this film, and in a way I did. While I found Marga to be a completely insufferable and infuriating character it is sort of refreshing to see this type of character portrayed. But at the same time it does make rooting for her particularly difficult when she's accused of a crime she didn't commit, if you take the film at face value without looking for any subtext. Cristina Brodo does a fine job in this film, her character is just the most unlikable person in the entire film. Yes...even more unlikable than the supposed villains. At the same time, the movie is most definitely one that will test your patience. You could argue that nothing really happens until the last 20 minutes of the film and I wouldn't disagree with you. But the movie does have a good sense of how to build a mystery and for the most part the film gets by on its intrigue and Cristina Brodo's character. But even with that, the movie doesn't do much, if anything it's kind of a shame because the film could've been much better. The plot isn't entirely inventive, but I thought the with way the film was set-up that the movie would've been better. I thought the pacing was a bit off and the ending wasn't really satisfying as it's completely out of left field and doesn't really fit with the rest of the film. Having a good mystery and a good story are two different things, and that's the problem here. The film simply doesn't have a good story. Because if it did, I don't think the film would've tested my patience as much as it did. I found this to be an average horror flick with some good ideas and solid performances but with a flat ending and uninspired storytelling.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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