Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2019
Images from the Internet
Is That You? (aka Eres Tu Papa?)
Directed by Rudy Riverón Sánchez
Breaking Glass Pictures
107 minutes, 2018
I have been trying to remember whether I have ever seen a film from out of modern Cuba before, let along a horror film. As an isolated island both physically and geopolitically, it kind of makes sense that someone from there might have a different perspective or use some older tropes from the pre-revolution days. Hell, so much of their equipment (cars, motorcycles, etc.) are from that early-to-mid-1960s period.
Actually, just calling this horror isn’t quite accurate as it falls more into the psychological subgenre range, such as Psycho (1960) or Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962). It’s a deep look at the goings on with a family living in a shack in rural Cuba, where baseball is still large, and men are kings of their castle, no matter how low many rungs down run the life ladder one is situated.
The family in question is a threesome. First, and foremost, there is Lili (Gabriela Ramos), a damaged, nearly 14-year-old who is has divided loyalties between her parents. The second is dead old dad, ó
Jorge Enrique Caballero). He’s a gentle soul who gets caught up in Eduardo’s rage and jealousy. When Eduardo disappears (hence the name of the film), Lili goes to visit an elderly neighbor, Caridad (Cuba legend Eslinda Núñez in a cameo role), to try to bring her father back from wherever he has gone.
Until this point, it’s an intense family drama with some harrowing moments, but the deeper psychology that leans towards horror comes in after the introduction of the Latino religion (some may say superstition) of Santeria.
This family is definitely broken: abusive husband, shell-shocked and physically abused mom, and the hormone-surged teen daughter who is caught in the middle of it all, with her own issues. Of course, as the film goes on, everything gets magnified and more intense until the conclusion, which will definitely remind most of us of another film, but I’m not going to give any kind of reveal.