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Jason Widgington [Celluloid 07.23.16] Argentina horror

It's every mother's worst nightmare: the abduction of her child and the panic and desperation that immediately ensue. The prolific writing duo of Adrian and Ramiro Garcia Bogliano (Cold Sweat, Scherzo Diabolico) and noted Argentinian genre director Daniel de la Vega (Necrophobia) play to a genre audience by infusing their film with blood and gore and supernatural elements. But make no mistake: White Coffin is primarily a film about a mother's resolve in the face of unimaginable despair and the lengths she will go to to save her child.

Virginia (Julieta Cardinali) and her daughter Rebeca (Fiorela Duranda) are on the road in search of greener pastures, escaping from an unhappy situation. Rebeca's disappearance from a gas station pit stop sets the stage for Virginia's ordeal, as she frantically searches for her daughter.

Along the way, she will meet two women in similar situations, as well as a mysterious stranger (Rafael Ferro, Memory of the Dead) who shows up at the most opportune moments to offer her hints as to how to find Rebeca. We're also introduced to a priest who may be the key to solving evrything – or at least the final piece of the puzzle. The supernatural elements come into play when the audience finds out the reason for the abductions and the rituals involved in the ultimate destiny of the kidnapped children.

There isn't a lot of exposition or character development in White Coffin, but with its brief 70 minute run time, there isn't much time for it. All we need to know is that Virginia's daughter is missing and she's desperate to get her back. That isn't to say that there aren't some minor pacing issues, though. It's reminiscent of one of those pendulum-style amusement park rides, where it will stop for a moment or two at the top of its arc before swinging down at maximum velocity only to do the same thing at the other end. But boy oh boy, is it ever thrilling when it's moving!

There is a sense of foreboding throughout the film, aided by its gray color palette, and it's not surprising when things don't end the way you hope, but White Coffin is a dark and slick thriller that offers up more than enough bloody set pieces to satiate the more gore-centric viewers.

Recommended Release: Cold Sweat

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