Magic Magic plays as part of the “Fantastic Selection 2014” from the Sitges Film Festival. Chilean director Sebastián Silva’s opus brings welcome relief from the usual body horror that’s part and parcel of contemporary horror movies with a haunting film that’s closer to the psychological creepiness of Polanski’s Repulsion or Altman’s Images. In this story, 20-something Alicia (Juno Temple) comes to Chile and is whisked off to an island retreat. Her cousin, Sarah (Emily Browning) suddenly has to return to Santiago. Alone with a bunch of strangers, Alicia begins losing it. Whether its her own hold on reality, supernatural forces, or… Silva keeps the tension high and the questions coming. Magic Magic has all the conventions of traditional horror – a group of young folk going to “haunted” house, moody weather and brooding landscapes – but works on your expectations and either subverts them or ups the ante. Magic appears as the homespun party games of late night parties and as something more deep and traditional, but mostly in the masterful way Silva puts the film together.
Originally published in EL Magazine, November 2014.