Venus 2022 Movie Scene Ester Expósito as Lucía bloody after fighting with the witches

Venus [2022]

Apart from French movies, Spanish ones are my favorites when it comes the European cinema. They just have a different flavor than the American ones I’m so used to. Once I find a good director, I occasionally check up on him to see if he put out something new. This is how I came across this movie, directed by one of my all-time favorite Spanish directors Jaume Balaguero. He’s the guy behind classics like Sleep Tight and Rec. And after the 2021 commercial heist movie Way Down, he’s back in the horror genre. Venus is an atmospheric occult horror movie inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Dreams in the Witch House”.

It opens with an ominous prophecy about an ancient demon Lamaasthu rising at dawn before showing a planet coming close to a sun until it finally settles on a busy nightclub. So far, so good. If you’ve ever been to a nightclub you’ll instantly feel a connection to this vibrant atmosphere. And here we meet the main protagonist of our story, beautiful dancer Lucia. After she gets off stage, Lucia grabs a big bag and tries to leave the nightclub. What follows is a brutal fight with one of the security guys that leaves her wounded and bleeding. She ends up at her sister’s place in a rundown Venus apartment block.

And this is where things start to get weird. I will leave the rest of the story for you to uncover. Although I think you already know where this is going. Especially considering that very first scene. After that quite furious intro, we settle into a more deliberate and atmospheric pacing. We get to know our characters and get glimpses of the cosmic terror that’s about to come. Too bad the story isn’t unfolding over the course of a night, now that would be something. Although considering the short running time (105 minutes) and solid pacing, it feels like it does. And you can bet your sweet ass that the finale is going to be one juicy, gory, and, above all, Lovecraftian affair.

However, I do have to admit that the very ending was a bit quirky for my taste. Venus is a highly atmospheric horror movie full of mystery. We see things happening but we don’t know what they mean and how they’re connected. The story follows several different subplots with one common denominator, Lucia. This constant back and forth does mess with the tone at times. It’s like I’m thinking finally we’re going to get into some shit but nope, it’s back to the family drama again. I did like the whole gangster angle along with their brutal and unusual methods. It’s like the movie wasn’t too sure what it wanted to be.

It feels, dare I say, too human and emotional for a movie about such wicked things. Leave it to the fucking Spanish to blend passion, human drama, and horror into one highly combustible mixture. I guess Evil Dead Rise really spoiled me. Now that’s a fast-moving beast featuring loads of gruesome scenes. Venus does not shy away from graphic content as well. There will be several intensely gory and bloody scenes for all you horror fans out there. Although you’re never quite sure are it really happening or if the person is just dreaming. After all, the name of the short story is Dreams in the Witch House. You might want to check out Color Out of Space for more of that atmosphere.

Venus also telephones a couple of twists but this in no way impacts the overall vibe of the movie. When I sat down last night to check it out, I was expecting a girl fighting criminals in an abandoned apartment complex. So, watching a Lovecraftian tale of cosmic horror alone in my house at three in the morning right before I go to sleep is not something I had in mind. Luckily, I did not have any nightmares despite a couple of truly terrifying and quite memorable scenes. Like the one with The Servant in the bathroom. And I do apologize for ruining your surprise but I simply had to do it. Ester Exposito was excellent as our kick-ass heroine Lucia along with young Ines Fernandez playing Alba. I can see a bright future for them already.

Director: Jaume Balagueró

Writers: Jaume Balagueró, Fernando Navarro

Cast: Ester Expósito, Inés Fernández, Ángela Cremonte, Magüi Mira, Federico Aguado, Fernando Valdivielso

Fun Facts: Jaume Balagueró worked with another Spanish horror director Álex de la Iglesia (The Day of the Beast, Witching and Bitching) on this movie. H.P. Lovecraft’s story was adapted twice for television. The first one was the Stuart Gordon’s episode of Masters of Horror and the second one is features in Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities.


IMDb Link:

YouTube player