Quick Movie Review: La Herencia Valdemar (Parts 1 and 2, 2010)

LA HERENCIA VALDEMAR (The Valdemar Legacy in English, Parts 1 and 2, 2010)

Directed by: Jose Luis Aleman

This will be my first Quick Movie Review. This type of review format I will do for movies which I think, to put it bluntly, suck. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean it was a BAD movie; it could be a good-yet-flawed movie which did not live to the premise’s potential, which is the case here.  The bottom line, however, is that I would personally not recommend flicks I review in this format, and I obviously do not believe they merit my usual in-depth review.

La Herencia Valdemar is a two-part film(think Kill Bill) based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. That right there was enough for me to have BIG expectations for it, since I’m a huge fan of Lovecraft and the genre he created, cosmic horror. Lovecraft’s work has been (relatively)directly adapted into various movies, like the Re-Animator series, From Beyond, Dagon and even some classic 60s-70s b-movies by schlock master Roger Corman. It has also been a HUGE influence in popular culture beyond direct adaptations, with loads of movie, comic and game series being influenced by him. Needless to say, Lovecraft’s a big deal, and any movie directly referencing him better deliver.

Sadly, La Herencia Valdemar chokes halfway through, making for a very inconsistent film. The first half of it(Part 1, obviously) is actually an excellent flick, a modern-day mystery with a Victorian-era origin steeped in Gothic mood and atmosphere. I finished the first film giddy to watch the second one and see what the payoff was from all that was established in the first film. But the second film just doesn’t feel like it’s the same story. The writing and acting in the second film felt stilted and forced when compared to the first, the pacing became erratic, and the characters fell flat compared to their characterization in the first movie. While the first film felt like an EXTREMELY well-done low budget horror film, the second one felt like a SyFy channel original movie, it’s THAT bad.

This is a damn shame, because La Herencia Valdemar could have become a modern classic of the genre if done well. I simply cannot recommend it; even if the first half was genuinely an entertaining and creepy film, half a movie is not something I tend to enjoy.