There are few feats more difficult for a director than to instil a real sense of fear into their films. To build-up tension until the audience is at almost breaking point. One false move can easily break even the most intricately crafted pacing. There are many ways to do this. However, far too often filmmakers rely far too heavily on a score or resort to showing far too many glimpses of the terror. In Ana Asensio’s Most Beautiful Island, she simply uses silence and our imaginations to brilliant effect.
Luciana (Asensio) is an illegal immigrant who has fled from her past in Spain to try and eke out a new life in New York. She lives hand to mouth, undertaking a variety of jobs in order to survive. When Luciana’s friend Olga (Natasha Romanova) tells her of an easy way to earn $2,000 for a night’s work, it seems too good to be true. Then again, she’s desperate for the money. All she has to do is go to a party in a basement.
Whilst Most Beautiful Island takes its time to get going, when it does it proves to be a clever and incredibly scary film. Assensio impresses in all three roles as writer, director and star. However, it’s her depiction of Luciana which ties everything together. It does, however, feel slightly stretched and may have been better suited as a short. However, My Beautiful Island builds tension beautifully to a gripping climax.
Most Beautiful Island is in cinemas from Friday.