Well, this was a complete surprise. Originally filmed in the Basque (an area straddling France and Spain) language, this fantasy horror film has been dubbed into English for release on Netflix. The dubbing is surprisingly good and will go a long way to this one finding a wider audience. And it definitely should. Errementari is a throwback to the fantasy adventures of the 1980s like Legend, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Neverending Story. It’s scary, funny, and thrilling all at the same time.
It’s a retelling of an old blacksmith who makes a deal with a demon during war to return home to his family. Things go awry and feeling tricked, the blacksmith takes the demon his prisoner. All is unwell until an orphan girl stumbles into his forge setting off a chain of events. The plot isn’t so much the draw as is the execution of it. The film is scary when it needs to be, but not afraid to allow you to laugh, as well. The characters are mythic, but not above calling a demon a “shit head.” It deals with morality in a serious manner, but it never falls into preachiness. Basically, it remembers the point is for the audience to be enjoying themselves, and sometimes that means making them squirm in their seats.
If you can’t tell that I really liked this film, let me be clear that this is some of the most fun I’ve had with a movie this year. I love the Marvel films as much as anyone, but there is a weariness creeping in to the sameness of modern film. Yes, you can turn to arthouse and indie cinema for something fresh, but there was a time not too long ago when these sorts of films could be found in the local multiplex (well, a time in the USA). If it takes Netflix buying up distribution or even financing these sorts of films, then I’m okay with watching them on the couch.