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Pesadilla mortal (1980)



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Credited cast:
Rosa Gloria Chagoyán
Milton Rodríguez
Marcela Daviland
Luis Uribe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gerardo Flores
Rafael Lanuza
Laura Mayer
Diana Mishan
Augusto Monterroso
Enrique Morales
Pedro Ramírez
César Ricci


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Release Date:

6 March 1980 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

El derecho de vivir  »

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User Reviews

as generic as the title

The title of this film translates as "Deadly Nightmare," which gives you an idea of how routine this film is. I bought this DVD because the cover makes it look like a Mexican take on a Hong Kong ghost film. Unfortunately, none of the images on the box are in the film, making the entire venture a waste of what little money I have.

Instead, it's a crime thriller with the quasi-supernatural conceit of Aouda suffering from nightmares about the deaths f various people by an assassin. The best thing about this film is the way her nightmares are cut in a mix if dissolves and very rapidfire crosscutting. I think it was André Bazin who said that the worst films have five minutes more interesting that the entirety of many good films. That's this film's moment.

The film sets up Aouda's co-worker, Hector, as being in league with the criminal element, then gives us sledgehammered melodramatic music when he finally turns on her, as if the previous revelation wasn't enough to make it not a surprise. Almost every scene discusses obsessively an "Alejandro," who was never identified while on screen.

Media Trading Network has apparently decided to market this DVD to the most undemanding of Mexican-American audience, as it contains no subtitle options (so much of the dialogue is redundant it only takes close listening and good etymological knowledge to figure out what they're saying if you don't know the language, as I don't), which is minor compared to the fact that everything looks green. Even with the language barrier, it was obvious that some scenes were redundant filler. One scene simply has Hector come into a place and ask where the crime boss is, only to be told he's in the next room, which given the set design, looks like he could probably be seen through the doorway. Alfredo B. Crevenna is certainly not an economical director.

To make matters worse, Aouda romances nearly every character in the film--not that she's portrayed in a sexpot since it amounts mostly to affection over meals where it sounds like the plot is being rehashed, sometimes in picnics or romantic dinners, before finally picking the guy she kissed for a final trite kiss that rounds out the formula Crevenna has so drearily deployed. Beyond the language, there's almost nothing to the film to suggest it's anything other than a rip-off of a Hollywood production. There doesn't appear to be anything intrinsically Mexican about it--not that that is a problem--it just seems overly American, and overly formulaic.

The acting is mediocre and sometimes feels forced, particularly when Aouda helps the investigator examine her mother's house--her tears over the death of her mother are implausibly rendered.

Don't let the box fool you, and pass this one up...4.5/10.

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