The Glass Coffin Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
Directed by Haritz Zubillaga
Written by Haritz Zubillaga and Aitor Eneriz
2016, 75 minutes, Not yet rated
Frightfest UK premiere on 25th August 2017
Somewhere, at some time, we’ve all thought: what's the worst place you could be trapped in? An elevator with your boss? An insect-infested coffin six feet under? A portaloo on the final day of a festival?
In comparison, being stuck in a limousine may sound like a holiday. But this apparent First World Problem isn’t all it seems for actress Amanda, whose glamorous transportation to an evening gala turns into a struggle for survival as the doors are locked, the lights go out and a mysterious voice strives to dictate her every move. “Do you honestly believe that you’re a good person?”, it says.
Cue torture porn…
It’s nigh-on impossible to sit through the first 20 minutes of Haritz Zubillaga’s Spanish-language, feature-length debut The Glass Coffin without the Saw franchise coming to mind – unless, of course, you haven’t seen Saw (in which case you really should. Right now. Go on, before you don’t understand the reference in the next line. You can read this later).
As the Jigsaw-like voice first addresses Amanda – does the naming pay homage to Saw’s Amanda Young? – through the limo speakers, you can bet that her impending fate won’t be as pretty as her evening gown. And, without giving too much away, it isn’t. What Zubillaga serves up is a brutal, unrelenting revenge thriller that thrives on humiliation and voyeurism.
No, The Glass Coffin is not particularly original. Its narrative isn’t particularly ambitious either, nor is its climax as inventive as you'd like. But its presentation is, nonetheless, undeniably compelling.
Effectively keeping the film to the one setting, Zubillaga makes clever use of the space inside the ‘glass coffin’, giving Amanda nowhere to hide from both her captor and audience, and effectively and consistently capturing her physical and emotional abuse through close-ups. For that, its claustrophobic and observational nature makes for a difficult watch, the only reprieve being the fact it’s all over in a tightly wrapped 75 minutes.