Eye For Film >> Movies >> 100 Candles (2020) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
In a decaying mansion, in the middle of the night, old friends sit in a circle surrounded by 100 candles. They are about to play a game.
The rules of the game are simple. Each of them, in turn, has to tell a scary story, then take a candle into the neighbouring room, alone, and look into the old mirror standing there. If they're lucky, they'll see nothing but their own reflection. if they're unlucky, what they see will drive them mad. As the game goes on, a portal will begin to open - a portal which might give each of them access to something they very much desire. No matter what happens, though, they must not stop playing the game once it has begun.
This central, interlinking story is by far the silliest part of Mauro Croche and Guillermo Lockhart's otherwise serviceable horror anthology. It's no heavily laden with cliché that one cannot imagine the fear factor bearing up once dawn breaks; did its creators lack all awareness of how long it takes to tell 100 stories? It's also hard to imagine anyone remaining interested by, say, the 5oth, with the probability being that rather than feeling more tense they would eventually doze off or collapse in fits of laughter. Fortunately the viewer is not subjected to that test, and if you can set the daft premise aside, some of the stories are considerably better.
They're a mixed bag, as is usual with these things. Most involve children, which makes them balance oddly with those which do not. A tale involving exorcism in a remote rural house is particularly well played, even if its ending is a little obvious, while a story about a little boy forbidden to leave his house takes supernatural expectations in an unexpected and poignant direction. The overall standard of acting is surprisingly good (with the exception of the interlinking narrative) and there are some especially impressive performances from the child actors. The cinematography by Carlos Goitia and Luciano Montes de Oca adds atmosphere and a touch of class.
It's a crying shame that this good work has been so clumsily packaged. There are a couple of decidedly flimsy shorts too, but the good ones really shine. If you have the patience, it's worth wading through the rest for them.Reviewed on: 20 May 2021
If you like this, try:The Mortuary Collection