What are you up to Mr. Sanzaru? In case you're wondering, this is a line from the film that in itself, for me anyhow, is indescribably eerie. It's one of those lines of dialog that will stick with me for quite some time, reminding me of the film which it came. "Sanzaru" is a haunted house type film that aligns itself also with haunted people - with some excellent results. Definitely not as in your face scary as some recent supernatural/horror flicks I've seen recently, but don't take that as a slight. What Xia Magnus's film lacks in the jump scare a minute, super gory department, is more than made up for with atmosphere and grit. The said atmosphere is almost like a character itself, and eventually envelopes the entire film. My personal opinion? I like - I like.
Keeping things spoiler-free of course, it all goes a little something like this. Evelyn and her son have arrived at a very horror movie looking homestead to help care for an aging woman in the throes of dementia. She and her son are not alone with Dena, the aging lady - her son is also present. However, Dena's son Clem has his own issues, but even trouble-free, caring for someone with dementia is a tough job and the extra help is sorely needed. But all is not calm and serene as I'm sure you've guessed. This is a horror flick after all right? And we are in a creepy house are we not? Is Dena's dementia the reason for what seems to be happening? Or, is it a little of both... an actual haunting and Dena's senility? One thing is for certain, this place has seen a lot of shit over the years and truthfully, would you really be surprised if something abnormal really was taking place? If these walls could talk... as they say and watching Evelyn try and decide what's what is half the psychological fun of this indie flick. No question.
Normally at this point, I would begin discussing the technical aspects of this production. In truth? There's no need - this is a great looking independent film. Not enough? It also happens to be a great sounding film, both in terms of easy to understand dialog and awesome background scoring and sound design. People generally talk about the cast and their acting ability but here, the audio is as much a character as the actors - as is the overall visual style of the flick itself. No complaints at all really. If/when you see this it will - and does - look and sound like it was intended. Nice work.
Speaking of the acting, as written above, there's not much to say. As expected from a seasoned cast, the portrayals are all handled excellently. It may make for a shorter write up, but the lack of words here only mean one thing. The cast was excellent - but I should also mention I really enjoyed Jayne Taini's performance as Dena. Painfully powerful.
When it's all said and done? "Sanzaru" was a great flick. Save a few slowdowns here and there, the reduced pacing at times helped build some atmosphere - but I can't help but wonder if a slight shave to the length would have made a slightly better overall film. That's for the audience to decide but personally? This is one of those movies that although I've now already seen, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a copy for my personal collection. Well done all around and a solid four stars.