The Binding (2020) Review

I am a big fan of international horror films.  Frequently they take more risks and are therefore scarier than English horror films.  Is that the case here?

Certificate: 15

Director: Domenico Emanuele de Feudis

Screenwriter: Daniele Cosci

Starring: Riccardo Scamarcio, Mía Maestro, Giulia Patrignani

Genre: Horror, Drama

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Rating: 2 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

A woman Emma, and her young daughter are visiting her fiancés mother for the first time in a remote house in the countryside of Southern Italy.  From the get-go Emma notices a lot of strange goings on around the house and that the family have a lot of strange rituals and practices.  When her daughter mysteriously falls ill and starts acting strangely Emma automatically assumes the worst about her future mother-in-law.  But is she really to blame?  Or is there something else behind her daughter’s strange behaviour?

The premise and atmosphere for this film are fantastic.  You get creepy vibes from this secluded estate right from the very beginning.  The film builds up it’s creep factor slowly, lulling you into a false sense of security that you know what is going on and you know what to expect.  The acting on all fronts is superb as well, with everyone, the young girl in particular giving excellent performances to help bring this story to life.  But for me there were several things that just let this one down.

Yes the atmosphere is great and the setting in this big, secluded home helps add to that, but the film makers also relied a little too much on low lighting to help build a scary atmosphere.  Sometimes the scenes were so poorly lilt that it was hard to see what was really going on, and crucially this seemed to happen a lot at times where you really NEED to be able to see what is happening.  Darkness is definitely scary, but if your audience can’t see what is going on, they are going to check out pretty quick.

The pacing also felt completely off to me.  There isn’t enough time given at the beginning of the film to really establish relationships between the characters.  We don’t really know how everyone really feels about everyone else or what their backgrounds are before we are thrown head first into the chaos.  So when the tragedy starts happening later on it is hard to really get that emotional when we were never really that connected to these characters in the first place.  The same can be said for the actual explaining of the lore and mythology that the film is so heavily reliant on.  We needed more time to get to grips with what was going on with the rituals and the bindings.  Instead we have nuggets of information thrown at us and then it is straight back to the action.  I feel like a well developed plot and characters were sacrificed in the filmmakers attempt to make a scary film.

That isn’t to say this film is bad.  Fans of horror will probably enjoy it even if it isn’t something new. ‘The Binding’ is streaming on Netflix now!

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