“Wow, we’ve written a western!”: This is how ‘El páramo’, the atypical Netflix horror film, was forged

On January 6, a Spanish horror film premieres on Netflix. Directed by David Casademunt and its protagonists are Inma Cuesta and Roberto Álamo.

The moor It is the new Netflix horror movie, yes, but it can also serve as a fantasy tale and, above all, as a metaphor about fear and loneliness. What David Casademunt has done is many things at the same time. “David told me about what he wanted to do, that it was not a horror movie. For me it is a fantastic story and a psychological thriller,” says Inma Cuesta, the protagonist of the story, in an interview with SensaCine. What the filmmaker proposes is a film in which the landscape reflects the state of the characters and shows Lucia’s journey into madness.

Cuesta comes from being one of the queens of comedy -for example, as the protagonist of Three too many weddings– and with The moor She achieves a dream she had since she was little: to work on a horror film. Interestingly, in just a few months, he has participated in Stories to not sleep, the ‘remake’ of the terrifyingly close series by Chicho Ibañez Serrador, and in this Netflix production. “I remember the first time they gave me the opportunity to do comedy, when I came from doing the most absolute drama, the world opened up to me. Now the fantasy and horror genre has opened the door for me and I would love to continue doing so, just as I would love to do many other things. Imagination should have no limits and I am very imaginative“, assures the interpreter.

The film focuses on a woman and her son who, after the father’s departure, live isolated in a flat area where there is almost no life. Their tranquility is disrupted by the visit of a mysterious and violent creature who puts them to the test.

That beast, to me, is herself. It is fear, it is vertigo to the void, to loneliness … I found all that metaphor that David uses through that beast to be very interesting, “continues Cuesta

The character of Lucia was a challenge for the actress. Just as he drew her deeply, he terrified him. “Going into madness is something that has always scared me very, very much. Going around was something, for me, very complex. I felt protected but it is a very delicate place. I get my learning from all that too,” he says.

At his side is Asier Flores, an actor who at the age of 11 can boast of having shot with Pedro Almodóvar – he was Salvador as a child in Pain and glory– and to stand out in a cast made up of two great names in Spanish cinema, such as Inma Cuesta and Roberto Álamo. He had just what Casademunt was looking for: a great inner life. “Diego’s character begins by being very passive because it is the story of a child who grows up through trauma and fear. That was a problem in many phases of the script because we have a first half of the film whose protagonist recently. He only reacts. . For me it was key to find an actor like Asier Flores, who has a brutal energy and life“says the director.

Flores was not intimidated on set. The actor let his imagination flow and improvised, leaving the team with their mouths open. “In one scene, Asier and Inma were grooming a horse. Suddenly, Asier laid his head on the horse and hugged it. That was very nice. He improvised it. He contributed a lot of these little details“recalls the director.

Criticism of Alejandro G. Calvo of ‘El páramo’ from Sitges 2021

In addition to Lucia, Diego and the father, the film has a fourth protagonist: the landscape. David Casademunt lets the images tell the story and emphasizes the environment that surrounds the characters. That desolate landscape in which they live reflects what they are going through and it is important to pay attention to it. “The space talks all the time about the inner drama of the characters. The moor and the house itself. Also the distribution of that house, the material with which it is made … Everything responds to Diego’s emotional journey, because the film is explained from his eyes and his emotions, “says the director.

To do this, they have pulled references and, without thinking about it, they have come up with a psychological thriller with touches of ‘western’ that results in a peculiar film in our industry. “We were not aware that we were making a western. During the five years of writing, we had in mind the horror, the thriller, the drama, the psychological suspense, but the word ‘western“.

In the first three months of the pandemic, which was when I began to obsessively draw the film, I suddenly start to build the visual imaginary and say ‘Damn, we’ve written a western!’ That was how I realized it, from the visual imaginary “, confesses Casademunt

To build the film, David Casademunt, as well as the other two screenwriters, Fran Menchón and Martí Lucas, constantly turned to their favorite directors. In this way, although not indirectly, Polanski’s cinema, that of Shyamalan, The diligence -of John Ford- and even the novel The Diamond Square, by Mercè Rodoreda, helped shape the story.

“In making the film we have constantly turned to our favorite directors. Many times, to unravel moments of writing, we asked ourselves: ‘What would Polanski do here? What would Shyamalan do here? ‘. There was a time when we were very stranded in the third act and we put on the final scene of The seed of the devil. That fueled us with creativity. On a personal level, on how to build the imagery of the film, I have constantly resorted to my references “, says the director.

The moor will be available on Netflix starting January 6.

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