The trailer above is spoken in Spanish but all films in the Festival screen with English subtitles.
“Black widow spiders are arachnids that are known for the females’ unique appearance and tendency to eat their mates.”
The Womb is a psychological thriller from Peru that bears an uncanny resemblance to the 1940’s movies of Joan Crawford, who specialised in playing the ‘black widow’ – evil, vindictive yet strangely elegant.
The Womb tells the story of two different women: Silvia, a beautiful 45-year-old widow who lives alone in a huge, run-down house and is obsessed with having a child, and Mercedes, an orphaned teenager looking for work.
When Silvia offers Mercedes a job as a maid, Mercedes thinks she has found the answer to her financial problems as well as the maternal figure she craves. When she then meets Jaime, a handsome backpacker who is working for Silvia as a handyman, and falls pregnant, it seems that she finally has the family she has been wanting. However, what Mercedes and Jaime don’t know is that the whole thing is a plan hatched by Silvia who wants to keep the baby as her own, and a struggle between the two women ensues.
This film relies on the performances of two talented actors who do not disappoint.
Firstly Mayella Lloclla (Mercedes) is initially innocent, even gullible, but quickly has to face the terrible truth about her employer. Lloclla handles the transition exceptionally well and one really feels for her. She is trapped, imprisoned and unable to control her destiny let alone that of her unborn child. Her range of emotions enable her to successfully develop an inner strength as the film develops.
Vanessa Saba (Silvia) is the perfect villain – arch, scheming and relentless. She prowls through the film always with her goal firmly in her sights. Saba beautifully underplays Silvia but still manages to dominate every scene. What more could you ask for? She is evil personified, beautifully dressed and with never a hair out of place!
Add to these fine performances, clever direction by Daniel Rodríguez Risco, moody lighting and an evocative score and you have a thriller that may not keep you guessing, but you will certainly enjoy the ride!
Reviewed by Barry Hill
Rating out of 10: 9