-b Penumbra - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Penumbra Reviews

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½ October 16, 2016
Despite a very well directed, acted (the lead actress carries rather long and exhausting conversations as if nothing) film, there's a missing storyline that fully explains all of the walking around, abstract talking and dialogue, and so since you already get very fast paced verbal action (Some of which I couldn't comprehend at times), you are left over saturated when it comes to the rather anti climactic climax, and are left with a resolution that in spite of the "unlikeable" character, is rather convenient to have. I don't think there was much in for the scares except for the unexpected event during the climax, so the movie also comes off as a flat wannabe thriller that leaves one wanting more.
May 9, 2014
She's Not as Crazy as They Say She Is--A very suspenseful little movie, that might not go exactly the way you expect it to go!!
½ April 18, 2014
Renting an apartment seems like a lame premise but it really works. Margarita just wants to do business, but things don't go her way. 2 out of 6 reviewers call her a "bitch-on-wheels" a third "rhymes with 'itch'". What's wrong with disliking hobos accosting you, or people being incredibly late? She waited 40 minutes for the prospective renter, that makes her stupid, not a bitch. Pouring the tea into the fish tank was bitchy though. "There are several reasons to stay with 'Penumbra' until the bloody end. Cristina Brondo is a remarkable actress. The directors (Garcia Bogliano brothers) know how to build suspense."
½ January 29, 2014
Workable situational horror with what turns out to be a macabre premise.
October 12, 2013
PENUMBRA (2011) 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
TAGS: decapitation, human sacrifice

PLOT: 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.

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!
September 2, 2013
And my foreign movie festival ends on a low note.
July 29, 2013
recommended by littlemissbloodandguts.......
½ July 24, 2013
It can somehow manage to keep viewers interested until the end which once you get there, it'll make you regret watching the whole thing in the first place. But hey! it was an interesting cast. Story line had major gaps though.
April 30, 2013
What starts with an excellent setup ends with a payoff that is lacking.
½ February 2, 2013
Horror flick with a secret.
January 7, 2013
Penumbra (The Bogliano Brothers, 2011)

The Argentinian thriller Penumbra shares some of the same problems as Chilean thriller Baby Shower, which I reviewed recently. Specifically, this is a movie that starts off slow, slow, slow, which seems to be a common thread among South American movies that style themselves horror (q.v. The Silent House review from a couple of years ago as well). But whereas Baby Shower just kept getting worse as time went on, Penumbra morphed into a fun, if not terribly original, little picture once the pace picked up.

Marga (L'auberge Espagnol's Cristina Brondo) and Ana (voice of Dr. Hell's Ana Lunaâ"we only ever experience Ana via Marga's cell phone) are Spanish sisters who inherited a loft apartment eight years previous. It's located in Argentina, where the two spend two months every year for business purposes, and because of the bad neighborhood, they consider it unrentable. Out of the blue, though, Marga is contacted by Jorge (Berta Muñiz from the Plaga Zombie franchise), acting as an agent for someone who feels the apartment will be perfect for his needs, despite the fact that he can afford a great deal better. That's the first thing that sets alarm bells off in Marga's head, but being the greedy, generally nasty person she is (there's an early scene of her tasering and berating a panhandler that sets the tone of her personality). She meets Jorge and Victoria (Chiquitas' Camila Bordonaba), who identifies herself as his driver, at the apartment, and the three settle in to wait for the new owner, Mr. Salva (The Fish Child's Arnaldo Andrà (C)), to come and sign some papers. Time drags on, and more alarm bells start going off in Marga's head as things get weirderâ"but her desperation to get the apartment off her hands keeps her there.

There's a lot of interesting stuff in here about class warfare (not only in the panhandler bit, but more subtly in the way Marga treats the elderly neighbor from the second floor), as well as some other incisive commentary on other things I really can't get into without spoilery bits; suffice to say that if you like social commentary in your thrillers, you don't have to dig too far down in this one without running across some. But it's all handled very well. At no point do the Bros. Bogliano stop the plot for a âbut now, here's an IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT RACISM!â? moment, which is a very good thing indeed. I'm not entirely sure the movie ever quite gels the way it's supposed to, and a lot of people absolutely hated the last five minutes (I'm not one of them, though I do admit the whole thing felt kind of like a shaggy-dog joke when we hit that last bit. But then, I love shaggy-dog-joke movies; the original Ocean's Eleven is one of my favorite films of all time), so keep that in the back of your head. But it's some good stuff, nothing you should spend months/years tracking down but worth a watch if you happen upon it at Redbox. ***
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 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.
½ September 22, 2012
One of the worst movies I've seen in my life.
½ August 26, 2012
constantly teased until the point of reveal this was rather enjoyable to watch but only once. It doesn't have repeat value for me but to be honest i dont think it needs it.
½ May 28, 2012
What a fucking awful movie, I'm not sure that I've ever heard so much utterly pointless dialogue in my life.
½ May 18, 2012
Película argentina me gustó bastante, tiene el toque de misterio y ese esperando que va a pasar que cautiva, los últimos minutos imposible de anticipar, un final totalmente increíble, a mi particularmente me pareció una historia bien contada aunque me quedaron dudas de algunas cosas es totalmente recomendada
May 10, 2012
Hmmm... at first I wrote this off but on second thought, it's kind of intriguing in a "B movie" sort of way.
April 27, 2012
Karma can be a bitch and Brondo proves that she can play one very well in the role of Marga. The mood jumps around quite a bit with humor, suspense, mystery, psychological aspects and a splash of violence.
½ April 26, 2012
Penumbra offers us a decent mystery that has no question as to what happened, nor why these people did what they did.

Plot is vague and seen it in other films that had the same cliche story, but non the less in this Spanish interpretation is fairly interesting.

Christina Brodo character can be easily hated; because, of how she comes about, but I rather found her rather interesting. Especially her character that is a bitch, and you know what they say about Karma. Its a bitch. Non the less her performance was great, we barely see a women carry the film very coherently and efficiently.

Overall Penumbra is not nothing original or spectacular, but Brodo carries the film fairly good, and I was not expecting the ending at all, it also had some decent tension. Decent flick, but don't go in expecting much, though.
½ April 25, 2012
This was AWFUL. I love horror, mystery, suspense movies of all kind and this was a giant fail. It led up to NOTHING. Climax at the end was so dumb. Don't waste your time. They talk for an hour and a half and then it just ends. SO BAD. Watch anything else.
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