Antonio Prieto (Javier Rey) is driving to a small town called Quintanar. Renting a large house for a month to seek some solitude and silence, Antonio hopes to put his skills as a writer to good use and complete his newest book. When he arrives at the house, he is greeted by Berta (Paz Vega), who is quite kind and helpful toward him. Antonio feels sure the house will be perfect for getting lots of work done.
However, it is not long until Antonio experiences many odd and questionable things within the community, baffling him. People within the community are rude towards Antonio or appear to be living in fear of something. Antonio also makes a major discovery near his house of an older couple who seem to have some sort of human monster locked up in a wooden cage. Antonio begins to hear voices, see shadows and find things in different places from where he left them. Investigating further, he hears the community speaking of an urban legend, ‘Vimero’.
The House of Snails is best described as a slow-paced thriller, and it’s the kind of film that leaves the audience with plenty of questions until the real answers are revealed in the third act. There are quite a lot of mysterious elements introduced throughout the film, and most of the mysteries here are fun. However, I can’t deny it does feel slightly crammed with various subplots for our lead to question or investigate. Along with these subplots, our lead even begins to have lustful desires for Berta (Paz Vega).
Visually, this film is pleasing and creates the right atmosphere to tell its story. For the most part, it is quite a dark looking film, and most of the questionable aspects surrounding Antonio occur during the night. The performance from Javier Rey was fine, and the character becomes more frustrated with the many mysteries around him as the film progresses. After all, Antonio just wants to write his book but instead gets involved in hearing about urban legends and conducting some investigations.
While the film introduces plenty of questionable mysteries, all of which audiences will want to know the answers to, I sadly found The House of Snails to be predictable and like another movie I adore from the early 2000s. With so much being built up, I honestly hoped for more from the finale. The runtime is acceptable, but I can’t deny that the film felt way longer than it was, and there are many moments that feel slow or drag on with uninteresting areas of the story. Some aspects don’t deliver a proper conclusion, and other final moments feel more like a last-minute idea rather than something well thought out. Sure, it’s still going to shock and surprise many, but for me, the film gives away its twist endings far too easily, and it felt weak.
Overall, those who love thrillers set within a small, afraid community will find some enjoyment here. For the most part, the performances are fine, and visually the film is rewarding. However, as a thriller, it feels highly crammed with various mysterious subplots. My biggest disappointment was the predictable ending and big reveals. Certain subplots feel unresolved, which could also frustrate selected movie lovers. In the end, I felt this was an average film, but I’m confident some will enjoy all that’s on displayed here. Sadly, it’s just not one for me to cheer on, given the slow pace and familiar journey to other films before it.