Alejandro Hidalgo’s intriguing Venezuelan suspense-horror has finally reached home entertainment release, pretty much two years after its homeland release (and a spot at last August’s Frightfest). It is one of those films that, the less you know before you sit down to watch it the more effective it will probably be, although that proviso also comes with a warning – I went into the film not knowing what to expect and the first half an hour or so set me up for what I thought was going to be a chilly little haunted house movie. I love haunted house movies. But then, slowly slowly, it turned into something else. Maybe that’s why, ultimately, ‘The House of The End of The Times’ left me feeling a little disappointed.

Dulce (Ruddy Rodriguez) comes to consciousness on her bedroom floor, bloodied and surrounded by shattered glass. She grabs a knife and takes off in pursuit of her attacker, in a very effective and gorgeously lit and directed sequence that takes her up and down staircases and through the foreboding shadowy hallways of the decrepit house where she, her husband and their young son are living. She lights a gas lamp and explores the strange stone tunnel beneath the house where she finds her husband’s body. Up ahead, in the deeper darkness, her son Leopoldo is waiting, too terrified to speak. Dulce begs him to come to her and he takes a small hesitant step forwards… and then something snatches him and pulls him violently backwards through a pitch-black doorway.

Thirty years later, after serving a prison sentence for the murder of her husband and the assumed murder of Leopoldo, a grey –haired Dulce (in very impressive old-age makeup), returns to the house to confront the demons of her past and unravel the mystery of what slaughtered her family.

Don’t get me wrong. When I say I was left a little disappointed I’m still very glad I saw the film because there is much to recommend it, not least the beautifully atmospheric photography, Yoncarlos Medina’s fragile musical score, and some fine performances from most of the actors. Ruddy Rodgriguez and Guillermo Garcia (playing the young Priest who becomes instrumental in resolving Dulce’s tragedy) are especially good, and Rosmel Bustamante and Hector Mercado (portraying Dulce’s children) both give performances greater than their years. Alejandro Hidalgo’s direction is also, on the whole, highly commendable although he does overuse the “what’s lurking behind the door” and “when she backs slowly away is there someone waiting behind her” clichés a little too often. Hidalgo’s self-penned screenplay is also very good and (for me, anyway) it admirably didn’t leave any of the loose ends untied, even though it almost descends into soap opera in the final twenty minutes and I’m not entirely convinced about what Dulce’s husband does towards the climax of the film (which also briefly recalled the ending of a very famous 1980 movie that had its own father and son credibility problems).

In fact, my issue with ‘The House of The End of The Times’ is mainly two-fold: Hidalgo relies too much on set-design and lighting to create the tension he should be supplying as director and that grows old very quickly, he badly needs more tricks up his horror-directing sleeve, and – this is the closest I’ll get to a spoiler – the story does something with what promises to be a very good haunted house set-up that left me wishing Hidalgo had just told us a creepy old-fashioned ghost story rather than something that felt a bit late 1990’s in its conception. There are tiny moments when ‘The House of The End of The Times’ evokes both ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘The Others’ and doesn’t compare well to either.

Still, what he does with the story is interesting and does contain at least one decent surprise.

It’s worth noting that, although I much prefer to watch non-English language films that haven’t been dubbed, the English subtitling is more than occasionally awful, which doesn’t do the film any favours either.

I give it a guarded thumbs-up and I’m interested to see what Alejandro Hidalgo does next.



DVD Review: The House At The End Of Time
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About The Author

Ian White is an author, screenwriter and journalist. His book ‘Witchcraft and Black Magic in British Cult Cinema’ was recently published by Hemlock and he is a regular contributor to ‘Paranormal Underground’ and ‘Starburst’ magazines. He’s currently writing a new book and screenplay and his embarrassingly out-of-date website can be found at