Written & Directed by Sebastián Silva
Starring: Michael Cera, Juno Temple, Emily Browning, and Agustin Silva
A naive young tourist’s road trip across Chile with friends turns into a waking nightmare.
Great idea, terrible execution. The extremely talented Chilean director, Sebastián Silva, is set to have a fantastic directorial career if he continues to grow in his art. While his direction skills are obvious, his screenwriting chops need honing. The insanely indecisive script is the true horror in this pseudo-horror thriller. If a more talented writer had been at the helm, this could have packed a helluva punch. The cinematography is fantastic, it’s a shame most other parts fall short.
In typical women-centered fashion, Alicia (Juno Temple), arrives in Chile to visit her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning) and her small group of friends. This is Alicia’s first time outside her resident America and it’s clear her misgivings travel along with her. Sarah is suddenly called back to school to retake an exam, or so she tells her anxious cousin. Left alone with Sarah’s friends, Alicia begins to show signs of weakening armor.
The movie runs for a solid hour before any clear plot is revealed. This isn’t a simple slow-burn, this was just annoying. Even after Sarah returns, her cousin’s plunging detachment makes it hard to ever feel connected. This is clearly the fault of Silva, and not the cast. The film delivers strong performances regardless of the poor script. Despite the climatic bouts of intensity, Magic Magic doesn’t offer any real scares. I get it, focus tends to fall on Alicia’s paranoia, distrust, and psychosis, I just didn’t find it particularly fresh or riveting, it was done well, the story just doesn’t work. If you had faith in Magic’s potential magic, the nonsensical ending will leave you confused and annoyed. Pass on this one.