Film Notes: The Body (El Cuerpo) (2012) by Oriol Paulo

As a pure murder mystery thriller, The Body (El Cuerpo) is a great film. The best thing is that it is one of those films that become better on second viewing. This is rare for a film of this genre.

4 out of 4 stars

Layers of Mysteries

The first thing we see is a running man in a deep dark forest. Soon it becomes clear that he is afraid. As he keeps running, he arrives at the main road. But a car hits him and he becomes hospitalized. The police soon arrive at the scene and they discover that the man is a night watchman at a morgue. Inspector Jaime Peña (Jose Coronado) starts the investigation by looking into the CCTV footages of the morgue. There, he and his team find out that the watchman is actually running away from something. They also discover that in this dark lonely morgue where no other living person is seen, a body is missing.

This body belonged to Mayka Villaverde (Belén Rueda), who died that day due to cardiac failure. It is soon revealed that her husband Álex (Hugo Silva), who has gigantic male ego issues, has not left the bed after this incident. Consequently, it appears that he has not taken the body from the morgue. But the moment his mourning relatives leave, he gets up and meets his secret girlfriend. Additionally, at this point, he says to his girlfriend that nobody can suspect that this is a murder. The two can now live happily together. But they do not know what has happened in the morgue. Soon Álex is called to the police station where Jaime takes him to be a natural suspect.

Thus a stage gets set in the first 10 minutes for a cat and mouse game. But as we can realize, it is more than just getting a confession out of Álex. The real question is, who has taken the body? Also, someone is dropping crucial hints that might indict Álex. Telling anything more will rob the film off its many layers of mysteries.

A Twisted Horror Thriller

The Body is a film that deserves a second viewing. Some things might appear irrelevant during the first time. But the second viewing proves that every part of the film contributes to its development. This makes it one of those special films that become better on second viewing. It also helps one appreciate how the film sometimes becomes a police procedural, often a how-done-it, and sometimes revenge drama, all the while not losing its way. Moreover, it is not a horror film, but still, it utilizes key tropes of horror more convincingly than most horror films do. A sense of dread rules every frame. You can easily call The Body a horror-thriller.

Writer-Director Oriol Paolo is adept at making twisted thrillers that rely on the viewer’s ability to think. Like his other great work The Invisible Guest (2016), the end governs the rest of the film. But The Body is a more polished thriller for its ability to make the utterly outrageous appear outright convincing. The film is finally getting a much delayed international recognition. But it still stands overlooked and deserves more attention and respect.

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