J. A. BAYONA, 2007
105 min. Cert 15 In Spanish with English subtitles
Described by The Guardian as a “pungent and scary film”, this Guillermo del Toro produced gothic frightener from Spanish director J. A. Bayona is also unexpectedly moving, seasoning its old-school horror with a pervasive sense of grief.
As a child, young orphan Laura (Belen Ruedo) spent her formative years being cared for by the staff of a large orphanage by the Spanish seaside. Thirty years later, the former charge returns to the dilapidated institution once more, this time with her husband, Carlos, and their seven-year-old son, Simon, in the hope of reopening the orphanage as a facility for disabled children. However, something ominous lurks amidst the darkened corners of this silent, stately building. When Simon's behaviour begins to grow increasingly bizarre, then malicious, Laura and Carlos start to suspect that the mysterious surroundings have awoken something sinister in the young boy's imagination. It's not long before Laura, too, is drawn into this disturbing web. As the repressed memories of the past come flooding back in a terrifying torrent of tension and deeply disturbing revelations, Laura becomes obsessed with uncovering the orphanage’s terrible secret.