24 November 2014



Chile / USA, 2013
Director: Sebastián Silva


I "love" how the trailer makes you think that this is a simple horror flick about a psychopathic Michael Cera frightening and killing young girls. If you, dear reader, thought so too... well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you've been completely fooled, just like me, "thanks" to Sony Pictures who had no idea how to sell this, and simply went the mindless psycho route.

Thank goodness, "Magic Magic" is NOT what the distributor advertised. It's something radically different, something I totally didn't expect. Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva ("The Maid") created a unique and quite unsettling psychological chiller about Alicia, a young girl who's mentally a bit under the weather, travelling to Chile to spend the holidays with her cousin and a few of her friends.
However, instead of fun and relaxation, the trip becomes an unbearable nightmare for her due to lack of sleep, surreal visions, a few weird persons whose behavior is plain inscrutable, and a few minor incidents that have an unexpectedly massive impact on her.

No psycho killers, no murderers, "just" a normal girl whose behavior gets weirder and weirder, because there's something seriously wrong with her mental health, and it obviously doesn't help that she's in a foreign country for the very first time, a country that doesn't have much to do with the place she comes from (America), at a place where she is "forced" to spend the days with people who don't like her and act rather strange all the time - or is it all just pure imagination? Does it have something to do with the mediacation she takes? Does she just want to be the center of attention? Or is she a real nutcase who is just unable to handle this situation?

With every minute and with every scene,
"Magic Magic" becomes more and more bizarre. What starts out as slightly comedic teen-drama, ends up as disturbing horror trip, not just for her, but for her friends too. Seemingly unimportant events and incidents become a catalyst for the way things change and eventually fall apart.

It's not a pleasant film. Nearly all of the characters are pretty unlikable, not in an annoying way, but rather in an intriguing and strangely fascinating way because you wanna know why they all act in such an assholeish way - until you realize that they may be not as assholeish as you first thought (does that make sense?). Several scenes are pretty awkward (dog hump, nightly telephone call) several scenes are highly uncomfortable (hypnosis, jump in the water, forced cunnilingus) and several scenes just disturbed the hell out of me (dog kills sheep, the
utterly insane finale).

The acting is simply fantastic, especially Juno Temple's award-worthy performance, Michael Cera as unfathomable weirdo, cutie Emily Browning as careless young girl with a secret, and Catalina Sandino Moreno as mysterious and unbelievably inconvenient woman. Silva's direction is strong and able to keep the movie creepy from start to finish. Also, excellent use of The Knife's "Pass This On" and Cab Calloway's "Minnie The Moocher", a subtle but super-eerie score by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") and excellent camera work by Christopher Doyle ("Dumplings"). Magically great!


  1. It sounds fascinating! (Though I prefer more of a plot.) Thanks for the review! :)

  2. I might have liked the psycho movie. Probably won't see it now.

    1. The psycho movie would have been lame.


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