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Mas Negro Que La Noche

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    Scyther
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  • Mas Negro Que La Noche



    Released by: Lionsgate
    Released on: January 27th, 2015
    Director: Henry Bedwell
    Cast: Zuria Vega, Adriana Louvier, Erendia Ibarra
    Year: 2014
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie

    It may seem strange that 2014 ushered in a modern day remake of an obscure 1970s Mexican horror film, but that's indeed the story behind Mas Negro Que La Noche, a relatively faithful retread which retains a lot of the original's storyline, with a little updated flair in the special effects department.

    The 1975 version of Mas Negro Que La Noche was directed by Mexican horror maestro Carlos Enrique Taboada, a noted filmmaker in his home country, whose reputation remains relatively obscure here in the States. Perhaps this is why director Henry Bedwell decided to try his hand at adapting the film for a younger, international audience, given that a proper English-friendly version of the original still hasn't hit American shores on home video.

    Yours truly is lucky enough to own a Spanish-language print of the film, however, and the good news to report here is that Bewell's vision is pretty much in line with Taboada's tale of a creepy house, murderous ghosts and a pissed, possessed feline on the prowl. Mas Negro Que La Noche does take some liberties here and there story-wise, changing names and character traits from the original, while also inserting some demonic possession themes during the latter half-but the crux here remains focused upon a group of four young and beautiful friends, one of which (Greta, played by the gorgeous Zuria Vega) inherits a gothic mansion from her recently deceased aunt.

    The only catch to this inheritance is that Greta must also take care of her aunt's orphaned cat Becker, a prototypical black cat whose purpose in the story seems destined to lead our characters towards some bad news later on down the line. Up until this point, both versions of Mas Negro Que La Noche are pretty much in line with each other with regards to plot. The main problems with Bedwell's version, however, lie within the comparative likeability (read: lack thereof) of its cast, as well as an equally frustrating lack of warmth or believability to the acting.

    For example, a crucial point of the story occurs when one of the girls' pets - a bird in the original, and a ferret here in the remake - is killed by Becker the Cat. In Taboada's original, we can feel the grief and distraught emotions pouring from the actress, whereas Adriana Louvier's character of Maria can just barely muster a half-hearted curse towards the cat who just murdered her pet and tossed its gooey remains at her feet.

    Bedwell's Mas Negro Que La Noche does move along at a pretty good pace, even if this version is almost thirty minutes longer than the original. Marc Bellver's cinematography is solidly composed - if a little monochromatic with the dreary grays and blacks - with some nice tracking shots of the house, yet this remake lacks the moody lighting and measured atmosphere which made the original such a good example of European horror in the 1970s. One common aspect amongst both films, however, is the relatively tame nature of the gore and nudity, with none of the latter and only a slight increase in the red stuff here in Bedwell's version.

    This lack of exploitative extremity didn't really hurt Taboada's Mas Negro Que La Noche, as that film featured more likable leads and that aforementioned musty 1970s atmosphere. Here in 2014, it seems as if Bedwell wants to amp up the sex and violence with the addition of more male characters and a few interpersonal sub plots between the characters, but balks at really going for anything other than a few PG-13 creep outs. Of course, both films possess a quartet of extraordinarily lovely leading ladies, yet Taboada's cast seemed more fleshed out as likeable characters we didn't want to see killed, whereas we never really get to know Bedwell's leads with anything other than a surface level appreciation of their physicality and bare bones basic personality traits.

    This is essentially what Mas Negro Que La Noche 2014 delivers for the viewer: a film which is nice to look at, but wholly unmemorable with regards to its content, particularly when compared to its imminently more watchable and deserving predecessor.

    Video/Audio/Extras

    Lionsgate's DVD here of Mas Negro Que La Noche is presented in a crisp widescreen transfer at 2.40:1. The film was presented theatrically in 3-D, but there's no such option presented here on its home video release. The film as a whole is full of dark color palettes, yet it never becomes murky or difficult to watch, while the Spanish language audio - presented here in Dolby Digital 2.0 - track is clear with decently well translated, if a bit simplified, English subs. Sadly, there are no extras to speak of other than some trailers, as it would have been great to get some commentary from the filmmakers regarding the influence of Taboada's original film, why they made their creative changes and how they feel both films stand up to each other.

    The Final Word

    The original Mas Negro Que La Noche stands as a recommended watch for old school Euro horror fans seeking out a cool mid-point between gothic horror and a supernatural proto-giallo. As for Bedwell's version? Well, it's cool to compare both films, but this 2014 remake might not lend itself as well to repeated viewings.
























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