A couple and their daughter moves to Colombia to take over a family manufacturing plant, only to realize their new home is haunted.
So this is a ghost story, but it’s also something else.
The story follows Paul and Sarah Harriman ( Scott Speedman, Julia Stiles) and their daughter Hannah (Pixie Davies) as they leave England to take up residence in Columbia. Sarah’s Father Jordan (Stephen Rea) has offered her a position as the director of the family paper mill. Paul is a children’s book illustrator, and not very popular with pop. But Jordan sets them up in a company home, with everything little Hannah could ever need or want.
They have arrived just in time for a local festival that gives offerings to the children of the village that were killed centuries ago by Spanish conquistadors. The history behind the festival is that the children of the village were held hostage in demand of a ransom. Once the families paid it, the invaders killed all the children anyway. Specifically, they set fire to the temple the children were in and burned them alive.
It as at this festival that they get to meet all the local players in this story, including the company doctor, Andrea Contreras (Alejandro Furth). Turns out their big company home was where the good doctor’s father had his practice years ago, but no one has actually lived there for years.
The couple hire a local woman named Catalina (Vanesa Tamayo) as their nanny and settle into their new life.
But it’s not that easy. First day in the public market, a child steals Hannah’s favorite toy. Hannah is not pleased about this, as one would expect, and doesn’t take it well at all. But a few nights later, Hannah is awakened by the opening of the dumb waiter in her room.
We all know what a dumb waiter is, right? ok, just checking…
Hannah sees her stolen toy inside and in trying to retrieve it, falls in and becomes trapped. The couple return from their night out at the festival to find this has happened. When they ask Catalina about it, she informs them that she never heard or saw anything, but explains that the house could be haunted. They then immediately fire the nanny. Like you do…I geuss…I don’t know.
Anyway, Hannah falls quite ill afterwards. She develops an unknown rash and a high fever. The couple have no idea what to do about it. The local hospital is useless, and the company doctor’s prescription helps not at all.
So Paul and Sarah decide to heck with this and plan to leave the next day and go back to England. But then Hannah is abducted from her bed. And with her disappearance, we head down the rabbit hole of what’s going on in this town. Where is Hannah and will they find her alive?
I have to mention here that I glanced over the user reviews on IMDB for this film. Almost 400 people rated it with an average of a 4.6. I think these people have really missed something wonderful and I intend to set the record straight.
There’s a lot going on in this story – ghost story, family drama, and even a bit of classism in action. See, the reason the local hospital isn’t helpdful is because it is for the poor locals. Not the “company people”, who have their own medical facility and doctors. If you pay attention throughout the film, there is a definate message about the “have and have nots” world of companies that set up business in places like this.
Also, brush up your spanish. There are a lot of conversations in Spanish and they are not subtitled. Yes, some of them are translated by other characters, specifically Catalina. But otherwise, you’ll wonder what you’re missing.
The cast is quite good. Pixie Davis had a lot asked of her as a child actor and I think she did a marvelous job. This is actually her first time in a “scary” movie.
Stephen Rea really needs no introduction. He’s has a list of credits a mile long.
Same can be said of Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman as well.
Visually, the film is beautiful. It was filmed in Columbia and great use was made of the landscape of structures.
The story takes a lot of turns, and doesn’t end up quite where you thought it would at the beginning. It was a great ride and I was very pleased and grateful to have had a chance to see it.
So on scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 8 creepy kids.