The winning feature from this year’s 24th annual Twin Rivers Media Fest is a real showstopper, a twisty little psychological horror-thriller that grabs the audience by the throat and never lets go. Spanish writer/director Ángel González’s Compulsión is a tense, tightly wound story of a woman who suspects her live-in boyfriend of cheating but discovers he’s up to something much, much worse. Brutally affective performances from the central cast bolster González’s streamlined narrative and carefully structured script, and a bleak mountain setting contributes a sense of isolation that not only serves the plot but also creates an atmospheric oppressiveness that complements the urban claustrophobia of the film’s early sequences. González demonstrates a sense of efficiency in his montage that belies his relative paucity of experience, often cutting to black and allowing the audience to read between the lines, making the film seem more expansive as a whole than its budgetary-constraints and deceptively slight 70-minute running time would otherwise allow. The shocking ending is a definite eye-opener, and the film’s devilish denouement is the perfect coda for a film that hits hard and leaves the audience wanting more even as it ties up its narrative threads nicely. If Compulsión is any indication of things to come, González will undoubtedly prove a director to watch, and Asheville audiences can count themselves lucky to catch his feature debut.

  • SD
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