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"The Glass Ceiling" is a relatively obscure Spanish horror film that I enjoyed tremendously the first time I saw it (in 2000), and I have watched it many times since and it only gets more frightening. I have lent my copy to several acquaintances, but none of them have liked it. Director de le Iglesia's style may be an acquired taste. A quick plot synopsis: A housewife (Carmen Sevilla) is frequently left alone by her husband in their apartment, as his business requires him to travel. The woman who lives upstairs (Patty Shepard) is also minus her husband, but Sevilla begins to catch occasional lies and half-truths from her upstairs neighbor, which leads Sevilla to think that Shepard has murdered her husband. Sevilla can't quite keep her mouth shut about the matter, however, and despite the fact that her friends think her imagination is running wild, she does not really begin to suspect the danger until it is too late.
Probably the most interesting aspect of this film is the casting of Sevilla and Shepard in the leads. Their roles are flip-flopped this time around: Sevilla often played flashy, whorish-type women while Shepard always played the victim. Here, the two actresses get to reverse themselves and both make the most of a good situation. In fact, this is probably the most substantial role horror starlet Patty Shepard ever had and is certainly one of her finest performances. Director de la Iglesia's usual themes of voyeurism, socialism, and homoeroticism are in abundance, and what Sevilla thinks has happened to her neighbor's body is not that far off from the theme that de la Iglesia would explore in "The Cannibal Man" the following year.
"The Glass Ceiling" is slightly better than "Cannibal Man", however. A very good script, excellent direction, and flawless performances by the entire cast -- and don't overlook Emma Cohen and Dean Selmier -- and a very odd, minimalist music score, at times sounding like church music, all come together to make this film a four-star frightfest, but since it is rooted in reality, and will probably make you wonder what your neighbors are up to, it is all the more interesting and frightening.
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