‘Is That You?’/’¿Eres tú, papá?’ (2018) A Quiet Cuban Chiller

Is That You? or ¿Eres tú, papá?, as the film is titled in its country of origin, is described by critics as a psychological thriller. Initially released in Cuba in 2018, is it a movie I’d describe as a thriller? Heck, no! It is slow as molasses for a good while, using dull colors, a quiet, despairing atmosphere and a heavy script to really drive home the unsettling darkness of the family at the movie’s center. In short, I understand that gore and jump scares are not the only way to create terror, and in some cases, a slower burn chill can often be a more useful tool to create that creep factor.

Is That You? builds up to a climax, but I do feel they could have sped up the pace a bit. Just a bit quicker would’ve been effective. There is a paranormal aspect to the movie that could’ve been displayed in a stronger way to really scare the viewer. All in all, however, it was refreshing to watch a movie that did not heavily rely on jump scares, because I felt more invested in the story and liked that I had to really think about what I was watching.

Lynn Cruz as the mother, Alina

The movie stars Gabriela Ramos (Ultimos Dias en La Habana 2016) as the young daughter, Lili, who becomes  overcome with sadness when her father disappears. Her mother, Alina, played by Lynn Cruz (Nadie 2017), portrays a woman living in a domestic abuse situation that leaves her powerless and afraid. However, she does not want to leave husband Eduardo, played by Osvaldo Doimeadios (Truck Driver 2012), for fear of never seeing her daughter again. The tale and imagery are grim, and, for the first hour, it is a bit difficult to decipher what is happening, but I liked that as it peaked my interest. The acting is intriguing and believable.

Teaser trailer for “Is That You?


Directed by Rudy Riveron Sanchez (Lost In Shadows 2011) and released August 2, 2019, Is That You? is literally the first movie described as a psychological thriller to come out of Cuba. It has been acclaimed critically, winning the Jury’s Choice for a Feature Film award at the 2019 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, Overall Best Feature Film from the 2019 Richmond International Film Festival, and the Anna Mondelli Award for Best Feature Film at the To Horror Film Festival in Italy 2018. Actress Gabriela Ramos also has won for Best Actress at the 2018 Oldenburg Film Festival. These are outstanding achievements!

It’s a family affair. Osvaldo Doimeadios as the father, Eduardo.

In closing, this movie left me feeling somewhat unsettled, as some of the strange occurrences throughout were never fully explained. I hope this was done on purpose. Is That You? is a refreshing change from the typical Western idea of what a horror movie is. The abuse in the movie is disturbing enough to make one’s skin crawl. I’d say, if you can handle a bit of a slow start (over an hour), then Is That You? is worth the watch, more so than any of the movies I’ve seen coming out of Hollywood lately. We at PopHorror wish the cast and director long, suspenseful careers!

About Lauraplant82

Hi there! I'm a mid-30s, Torontonian, virgo, true-crime obsessed, horror-obsessed, travel-obsessed, ...scrabble-obsessed, stargazing wannabe-novelist. I'd love to meet ya! :D Here is the link to my submission for Pophorrors 'meet the writers' segment: https://pophorror.com/meet-our-writers-laura-plant/

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