Like the Spanish supernatural chiller The Orphanage, this psychological thriller directed by adman Gabe Ibáñez also revolves around a mother’s search for a missing child. And like its predecessor, Hierro also benefits from being handsomely shot and solidly performed by a cast fronted by a good-looking leading lady (here Elena Anaya, recently seen in Mesrine).
Opening with a gruesome epilogue in which a woman’s son vanishes in the aftermath of a spectacular car crash, the film then jumps ahead to young, single yummy-mummy Maria (Anaya) and her five-year-old boy Diego en route to a holiday on El Hierro in the Canary Islands. During the ferry trip there Diego disappears and the immediate police investigation proves fruitless. Six months pass and the increasingly distraught Maria is summoned back to Hierro to identify a child’s corpse. It turns out not to be Diego but, once back on the island, Maria conducts her own investigation, which unearths variously helpful and suspicious locals, including the mother seen in the opening.
Red herrings and dead ends complicate the mystery, and it’s further obscured by a series of nightmares that Maria experiences during sleep and through recurring visions that she has while wide awake. Eerie flocks of birds, menacing bodies of water... It’s all very portentous, but does it add up to much? Well, yes and no. The script by Javier Gullón (King of the Hill) neatly ties up the loose ends of his carefully retro-fitted plot, but the final revelation is nevertheless somewhat underwhelming.
Cameo, Edinburgh and selected release from Fri 25 Jun.