There are a lot of elements to creating a great horror film. Suspense, thrills, mood, scares, not to mention the elements that just make a great film in general like acting and framing all have to work concert to create a truly memorable experience. Like a great recipe when the flavors combat each other they either cancel each other out, making for a flavorless mess or in Resurrection’s case, it weighs it down, making it difficult to digest.
Resurrection, an Argentinian film, tells the story of a priest in Buenos Aires during the late 19th century dealing with a Yellow Fever outbreak. There as he visits his brother and becomes infected himself, he learns that there is a supernatural element threatening to take over his family and may be at the center of the disease that is threatening his country.
Slowly paced, moody, and humorless this is without a doubt a film that aspires to be gothic horror. In that tradition it wants to wrap the audience in a blanket of oppressive atmosphere as opposed to outright frighten them and it does so at times with surprising elegance and an earnest attention to detail that despite the low budget, manages to build a believable 19th century world. Nothing about the tone or the acting detracts from this intention and it does a nice job of crafting and maintaining its gloomy temperament, through dark catacombs and dimly torch lit bedrooms, until the very last frame.
The problem is that with so much weight and emphasis placed on mood, it lacks an element to grab the audience to pull it through the story and make us want to see more and as result the film often feels like a chore when we should be able to appreciate the artistry. Mostly because there is very little of anything horrifying going on. We are treated mostly to sick people puking black liquid in an ominous, without a sense that the film will propel itself to anything more interesting or dire. That being said, this is a step in the right direction for Argentinian horror as it adeptly creates a gloomy environment and hits its intended mark with competent film making.
Resurrection is a film that will play well for those only interested in gothic atmosphere but not for those who are looking for something truly gripping.