Plagues and pandemics have always been a candy for horror and fantasy film scriptwriters. This trend could only increase after covid, a real pandemic that confined the entire world. Three years later, genre cinema bears the seal of the epidemic and Sitges has awarded it.
When evil lurks , by Argentine Demián Rugna, has won the award for best film in the official section in this intense competition that lasted ten days and screened more than 200 titles. Two brothers who live on a ranch discover that one of their neighbors is embichado , that is, it has a demonic germ inside it. A cleaner arrived at the scene to heal the infected person, but he died dismembered. The evil spreads and takes over the entire area despite the attempts of the two protagonists to stop the gestation of Satan…
Rugna plays with psychological terror (although he does not make ugly a few ax blows and trails of blood) because “there are things that are not seen and that helps the viewer to finish constructing the story and generates terror,” the director explained in a Interview with The vanguard as they pass through this festival.
The special jury prize has also been infected by this pandemic trend. The jury, chaired by the actress Ana Torrent, has awarded this award ex aequo to Vermin: the plaguea film by Sébastien Vanicek, where the spiders take power and force a quarantine, since Stop motion by Robert Morgan, an exercise in psychological terror where a woman borders on madness when she sees how the puppets she works with come to life.
The list of winners has left out some of the films that were considered favorites, such as the Korean one Sleep by Jason Yu, or the delicious Robot dreams . by Pablo Berger, who won the audience prize as a consolation.
More controversial have been the acting awards. It seemed that Ernesto Alterio and Víctor Clavijo were destined to compete for the best actor award. Alterio for his portrayal of an unscrupulous businessman in Flies by Aritz Moreno, and Clavijo for his role in The wait by Francisco Javier Gutiérrez, where he plays the caretaker of a farmhouse in Seville in the 70s who is deteriorating physically and emotionally tormented by guilt.
But unexpectedly the award went to Karim Leklou, star of Vincent must dieby Stéphan Castang, which also has a lot of pandemic: Vincent wakes up one day and discovers that everyone wants to kill him, little by little he realizes that he is not the only one in that terrible situation.
The seeding , by Barnaby Clay, had gone somewhat unnoticed in this Sitges so, so full of cinema. The film tells of a hiker who, lost in the desert, falls into a tiny valley from which he cannot get out. There, in a cabin, lives a mysterious woman who gives him shelter and very little conversation. She is played by Kate Lyn Sheil, who won the award for best female performance.
There has also been a special mention for Zafreen Zairizal, the young protagonist of Tiger Stripes a film by Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu, which tells the story of the isolation a girl is subjected to after her first period.
The award for best direction went to Baliji, a Congolese director who signs Omen where a man returns home to the Congo with his white, pregnant wife and faces rejection from his people.
Brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes wrote the script and also directed Late night with the devil , one of the most applauded films of this edition of Sitges. The Cairnes have won the award for best script for this story of a late-night television program at low hours that, without meaning to or eating it, transmits evil to the viewers.
Nobody has disputed the two special mentions for Flies the alleged anti-capitalist of Aritz Moreno, and for Riddle of Fire by Weston Razzoli, which features some very naughty, sometimes bad children, and which delighted the public.
Furthermore, the jury awarded the prize for best photography to Le morsure by Roman de Saint-Blanquat, a vampire and night owl film. Club Zero, by Jessica Hausner, which delves into eating disorders, has won the award for best music and The animal kingdom by Thomas Cailley, with the best special effects.