Thursday, May 12, 2011

To Let -- AKA Para Entrar A Vivir (2006)

Fear 4/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 4/5

The 2nd feature I've watched from the Spanish series 6 Films to Keep You Awake, To Let will keep you on edge throughout with its frenetic pacing. And after having checked out two films in the series, I can say it's already better than most horror series out there (I'm looking at you 8 Films To Die For).

Our film begins with a husband as he picks his wife up from the hospital as she's expecting and just paid a visit to her doc. The husband is holding an ad which he picked out of their mailbox about a reasonably priced new apartment and he convinces his wife to make a drive out to the neighborhood where the apartment is located. Upon arrival, the rundown building and surrounding area is met with disdain by his wife but he convinces her to give it a shot anyways.

The landlady immediately greets them and guides them inside, up the stairs and through the hallway which (hopefully) leads them to their new home. But on our trip upstairs, we take note of the shoddy condition of the joint and see the disapproving looks of a wife who's already written off the housing prospect.

Stepping inside the apartment, we see the insides and the additional accommodations don't really save the day. The apartment is worn down, leaking and having mechanical issues within the kitchen. Simply put: its a dump. The wife cuts off the landlady mid sentence and prepares herself to exit stage left with her husband. But before they can do so, she momentarily falls ill and the landlady advises her to take rest in a nearby room. After she tells her to lie down in her 'condition', making the young couple aware of the fact that she knows the couple is expecting (even thought the wife is barely showing), we begin to suspect that our landlady has no intentions of letting them leave. When the husband exits the room to question the landlady, she clobbers him over the head with a hallway decoration which knocks him unconscious.

Our expectant mother rushes out of the apartment and finds her way into another one thinking that other folks who live there could help her out. As she winds her way through the apartment, she sees a dressed up mannequin positioned in front of a blaring TV. She also finds a baby's play pen where it looks like a little tyke took residence not so long ago. Making her way into the bathroom, she finds a woman, alive, handcuffed and chained to the wash basin, made to look like a happy resident who's starting off her day. Our demented landlady finds her and takes a cattle prod to her and drags her back up to the apartment.

After being tied up, our scheming landlady reveals why she's chosen the young couple, talking about the fate of her beloved building and business if she doesn't bring in new tenants. This revelation sent shivers down my spine. I'm sure we can all relate to having a nutty landlord at some point in our lives. The young mom-to-be escapes from being tied to a chair and it's a cat and mouse game all the way to the end as she helps free our attached to a sink woman and they encounter the fucked up landlady's mongoloid son. Does she escape or become a permanent resident?

Brought to you by one half of the dynamic duo behind the [REC] series, To Let is unrelenting and terrifying. And it also has one of the best dismemberments by way of garbage disposal ever committed to film.

Cortez the Killer


Matt-suzaka said...

Ha, I posted my review not too long after yours without even knowing that you posted one!

The review I wrote was from like 6-months ago, and at the time, I really disliked To Let, however, since that time, and after re-reading my review, I feel like I might have been overly critical of some of the film's shortcomings.

One of the biggest issues is most everything that happens in the second half is very hard to swallow and the characters turn into morons and do everything but what they should be doing to survive. For what ever reason, that really got to me when I watched it.

Maybe I expected less stupidity from a director such as Balaguero. I often can overlook some of those issues for some horror films if they do a lot of other shit right, and To Let does do a lot of other shit right. It's wonderfully shot, the set design is incredible and it's quick and to the point.

I'll have to re-watch it again down the line to see if I feel differently than I did when I watched it, as even now I am surprised at the venom I had for the film when I watched it!

Either way, glad you are digging the series thus far, and be sure to check out A Christmas Tale asap!

Planet of Terror said...

Matt, I see what you're saying. They do make some dumb decisions. But I overlooked that in favor of the story and the freaky landlady. Good lord she creeped me the fuck out. Give it a whirl again and let me know what you think. I'll def. keep you posted on what I think about the rest of the films in the series.