Your Dead Girlfriend is Haunting My Bathtub (Film Review: “The Hidden Face”)

The Hidden Face  (La Cara Oculta) is a 2011 Spanish film that I promise won’t disappoint you even though I know you’ll be so tempted to turn it off after 10 minutes and wonder if Norma’s Streaming Picks has jumped the shark. Cleverly directed by Andrés Baiz as almost a film-within-a-film, it’s a tight suspense thriller which manages to present two opposing female leads in surprisingly sympathetic performances.

SnapShot Plot

When promising young Spanish conductor Adrián (Quim Gutierrez) realizes that his girlfriend Belén (Clara Lago) has left him over jealousy – he drowns his sorrows at a neighborhood bar and ends up going home with the lithesome young waitress, Fabiana (Martina Garcia).  It’s insultingly soon that the new girl insinuates herself into his bed and his home. She’s often nude and likes to jump on the bed and she doesn’t like his dog…this is when I almost hit the Stop button but didn’t. The police are sorta-kinda investigating the disappearance of Belén, which makes the audience begin to wonder exactly what has happened to this young woman.  Soon after Fabiana settles in to her role as the new girlfriend, things start to go a bit haywire in the bathroom and she begins to believe that the ghost of Belén is haunting her.  Then through a series of flashbacks we understand exactly what’s going on and the movie becomes really interesting.  The only uninteresting fact of The Hidden Face is Adrián himself, who comes across like such a sneaky jerk and such a vapid individual that I kept wondering how these two women could be so desperately in love with him.  But it’s really not at all about him; this plot totally revolves around Fabiana and Belén and the moral and ethical dilemma of the unique circumstances in which they find themselves.

Parting Shot

There were elements of The Hidden Face that so reminded me of the 2000 supernatural horror flick that Robert Zemeckis did (What Lies Beneath) while he was waiting for Tom Hanks to lose weight and grow whiskers for Castaway: a perfect relationship rocked by deception, a dead woman from the past, and a haunted bathroom with ripples in the water from the other side…..I thought I knew exactly what was going on.  And thanks to this fan-made trailer which will save you from the Spoiler that the official trailer is, hopefully you’ll enjoy the suspense as much as I did.  I think the lasting impression of the movie, as the title implies, reminds us that in each of us there is that hidden face which is revealed when we are pushed to our absolute limits.

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