Sunday, 21 November 2010



No-Do? Have they put the wrong disc in the DVD case? Have they stuck the wrong label on the DVD? Because No-Do isn't the title on the box cover or even on the menu screen. Search for No-Do in LoveFilm's database and it doesn't show up. As far as everyone is concerned, it's called The Haunting (and nothing to so with either previous version of The Haunting, and some issues of Roger Corman's rubbish The Terror are also marketed as The Haunting). And the IMDb classifies it as The Beckoning. So that's all that sorted out then.

No-Do is a Spanish horror film, and the title is actually an abbreviation of "Noticiarios y Documentales", the umbrella title of a series of propaganda "news and documentaries" in the Franco years. One of these films was shot in a house where some kind of miraculous religious event supposedly happened and the footage was promptly suppressed by the Catholic Church. Years later, a young family rent the old house but it's not long before spooky things start happening: noises coming from the locked attic, an old woman who used to work there shows up after waking from a decades-long coma, messages in blood appear on the wall. The couple's baby son is taken away amid fears that the mother is going mad; the local priest helps as much as he can with delving into the history of the house but the upper echelons of the Church would rather the matter remained secret.

Clearly the film No-Do wants to be is The Orphanage, and it frankly hasn't got a hope of getting anywhere near that magnificent work; there's a plot twist regarding the couple's daughter that I spotted far too early (although a second, more satisfying revelation at the end caught me unawares). That said, there are still several effectively spooky moments, and the true horrors of the house's past are fascinating and believable. While it isn't in any way a classic, it's a decent enough evening's rental.


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