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Penumbra

3.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Aug 28, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Combining stylistic elements of classic Polanski with a contemporary vision that rivals anyone working in horror today; the Bogliano brothers' PENUMBRA is a superbly realized South American horror slow-burner. Marga is a highly motivated; arrogant and successful businesswoman on assignment in Buenos Aires a city she hates and whose people she loathes. While in the Argentina capital on a day the whole population is waiting to view a rare solar eclipse she must also find a new tenant for her family's decrepit apartment. Rapidly losing her patience waiting for one applicant she runs into the mysterious Jorge lurking outside the front door of the place who informs her that he has a client willing to pay four times what she is asking in rent. There's one catch the paperwork must be signed immediately. As greedy Marga waits to complete the transaction several of Jorge's associates suspiciously appear at the apartment ready to strip the wallpaper. And what's behind the decor signals a startling fate worse than death -- or should that be life!

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Cristina Brondo, Camila Bordonaba, Berta Muñiz, Arnaldo André, Mirella Pascual
  • Directors: Adrián García Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083H6ATW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,072 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Following the oddball cult hit "Cold Sweat," the Argentinean filmmaking team of Adrian and Ramiro Garcia Bogliano return with "Penumbra." "Cold Sweat" was not a particularly good movie, to my mind, and yet its sheer madness made it strangely alluring. When I settled in to watch this movie, I was not aware of the connection but it didn't take me long to link the two movies based on a similar tone. It's very distinctive and recognizable! So if you like one of these films, you will undoubtedly embrace the other. So over-the-top as to veer into comedy, it's hard to take either very seriously. And yet, there's something unexpectedly compelling and different enough about the style to keep you interested. "Penumbra" is marketed in the horror category but, in truth, it probably won't satisfy viewers expecting big scares and thrills. At best, this is an exercise in creepiness. And, as I said, due to the broadness of the script and performances, I was more amused than terrified. For me, that was enough.

The story unfolds in real time, basically ninety minutes on the day of a rare solar eclipse. A brash Spanish lawyer (Cristina Brondo) is in Buenos Aries on business. She is also tending to an inherited property that she hopes to rent out. When she meets a realtor at the dilapidated apartment, he seems desperate to make an immediate deal. Snapping at an offer that seems too good to be true, she waits for the arrival of the potential renter as the day becomes increasingly odd. It is clear from the get-go that something malevolent is at work here. Although the script tends to hint at possible madness in the central character (which might have been an interesting angle), it is never a viable option.
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Format: Amazon Video
Following the oddball cult hit "Cold Sweat," the Argentinean filmmaking team of Adrian and Ramiro Garcia Bogliano return with "Penumbra." "Cold Sweat" was not a particularly good movie, to my mind, and yet its sheer madness made it strangely alluring. When I settled in to watch this movie, I was not aware of the connection but it didn't take me long to link the two movies based on a similar tone. It's very distinctive and recognizable! So if you like one of these films, you will undoubtedly embrace the other. So over-the-top as to veer into comedy, it's hard to take either very seriously. And yet, there's something unexpectedly compelling and different enough about the style to keep you interested. "Penumbra" is marketed in the horror category but, in truth, it probably won't satisfy viewers expecting big scares and thrills. At best, this is an exercise in creepiness. And, as I said, due to the broadness of the script and performances, I was more amused than terrified. For me, that was enough.

The story unfolds in real time, basically ninety minutes on the day of a rare solar eclipse. A brash Spanish lawyer (Cristina Brondo) is in Buenos Aries on business. She is also tending to an inherited property that she hopes to rent out. When she meets a realtor at the dilapidated apartment, he seems desperate to make an immediate deal. Snapping at an offer that seems too good to be true, she waits for the arrival of the potential renter as the day becomes increasingly odd. It is clear from the get-go that something malevolent is at work here. Although the script tends to hint at possible madness in the central character (which might have been an interesting angle), it is never a viable option.
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Format: DVD
Penumbra (The Bogliano Brothers, 2011)

The Argentinian thriller Penumbra shares some of the same problems as Chilean thriller Baby Shower, which I reviewed recently. Specifically, this is a movie that starts off slow, slow, slow, which seems to be a common thread among South American movies that style themselves horror (q.v. The Silent House review from a couple of years ago as well). But whereas Baby Shower just kept getting worse as time went on, Penumbra morphed into a fun, if not terribly original, little picture once the pace picked up.

Marga (L'auberge Espagnol's Cristina Brondo) and Ana (voice of Dr. Hell's Ana Luna--we only ever experience Ana via Marga's cell phone) are Spanish sisters who inherited a loft apartment eight years previous. It's located in Argentina, where the two spend two months every year for business purposes, and because of the bad neighborhood, they consider it unrentable. Out of the blue, though, Marga is contacted by Jorge (Berta Muñiz from the Plaga Zombie franchise), acting as an agent for someone who feels the apartment will be perfect for his needs, despite the fact that he can afford a great deal better. That's the first thing that sets alarm bells off in Marga's head, but being the greedy, generally nasty person she is (there's an early scene of her tasering and berating a panhandler that sets the tone of her personality). She meets Jorge and Victoria (Chiquitas' Camila Bordonaba), who identifies herself as his driver, at the apartment, and the three settle in to wait for the new owner, Mr. Salva (The Fish Child's Arnaldo André), to come and sign some papers. Time drags on, and more alarm bells start going off in Marga's head as things get weirder--but her desperation to get the apartment off her hands keeps her there.
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