THE WAIT (La Espera)
Eladio has been hired to watch over the hunting grounds of Don Francisco’s estate, somewhere in rural Spain. The estate is divided into ten hunting stands, spaced far enough apart to avoid incidents. After three years of service, Don Carlos — Don Francisco’s second in command — offers him a bribe to add an additional three stands to the property. Eladio initially hesitates, but his wife eventually convinces him to take the money. Eladio’s greed has unfortunate consequences that drag his entire family to perdition.
Opportunity, loyalty, guilt, and greed drive THE WAIT (La Espera) headlong into tragedy. F. Javier Gutierrez‘s 2023 Fantastic Fest film takes our protagonist on a torturous journey into madness. To save his flailing marriage, Eladio agrees to take cash under the table to break the rules. The consequences are deadly. When the drink takes over his existence, visions and strange occurrences send him on a wild goose chase for redemption and salvation.
Striking sun-baked cinematography juxtaposed with nightmare scenarios makes for a visually splendid treat for genre fans. The first third of the film lies firmly in the classic Western genre. The sudden flip into supernatural horror is jarring, but our leading man, Victor Clavijo, has you tied in knots on his emotional journey and the mystery at hand. One nightmarish torment scene boasts fantastic practical and Special FX makeup. The mystery grows steadily. The motive is a slow burn, though it does pay off. THE WAIT (La Espera) is a solid folk horror entry and an even more niche win for the Western horror subgenre.
The Wait (La Espera): 99 minutes / Spain
Spanish w/ English subtitles