"O Apóstolo" is a dark humour tale set in Galicia, on the road to Santiago. Galicia is the Gothic part of Spain, the land of mist and legends. Although it holds the most important Christian pilgrimage centre, pagan traditions are still alive and kicking. It is also a bilingual community, which the film reflects. It contains dialogues in Galician and Spanish (which would have been unthinkable only thirty years ago).
This is the first European stereoscopic stop motion feature film. Technically, it is perfect. The settings (the old village, the reproduction of Santiago cathedral) are magnificent, as it is the legend's musical sequence, reminiscent of Medieval illustrations. It is also a nice touch to make the dolls physically similar to the actors dubbing them. Luis Tosar's looks exactly like his character in "Celda 211". This said, the plot drags a little and had much more possibilities which are not fully exploited. Some references are perhaps too subtle. I was the only one in the cinema laughing when the Arcipreste (dubbed by Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy) held the picture of the werewolf. Naschy (to whom the film is dedicated, as he died soon after) had become famous for playing werewolf Waldemar Daninsky.
"O Apóstolo" shows also the influence of Galician low-budget horror film director Amando de Ossorio, especially because of the use of a local myth. While the priest (obviously modelled on Nosferatu) made me fear this was another vampire film, the story refreshingly went in another direction. It is about the Galician horror legend of the Santa Compaña: the procession of dead, guided by a living man, who will die slowly unless he passes the cross he carries to another. Pay attention to the ways of getting rid of these ghosts. You may need them if one night you walk on a dark road.
The straight-faced, sharp humour (deeply Galician) makes the film maybe more suitable for young adults than for children. In any case, it is beautifully done and entertaining. Keep them coming.
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