Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil Film Review

Echoes Of Pan’s Labyrinth Throughout

Based on an ancient fairy tale, Spanish horror/fantasy Errementari is a bizarre, surreal film with a sharp thematic core revolving around good and evil. While the story is largely formulaic and its characters uninspiring for the most part, it’s the way Errementari presents its themes that make it such an interesting and thought provoking film.

The story predominantly revolves around two characters – a bitter, reclusive Blacksmith and an orphan that stumbles into his barricaded, foreboding house. It soon becomes apparent that the Blacksmith has captured a demon – complete with pointy horns and trident – whom he blames for the misery in his life. From here the film toys with the concept of good and evil while presenting the demon as a mixture of bizarre rambles and menacing screams juxtaposed with a softer, almost gentle side designed to manipulate and trick the weak minded. All of this builds toward a finale that goes one step further than its initial premise to tease what lies beyond this life. The story, for the most part, juggles its themes well and you never feel overpowered by the messages the film presents.

In many ways, Errementari has echoes of Guillermo Del Toro’s deliciously dark fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth running throughout. This is particularly evident in the continuing relationship that develops between the demon and the orphan who engages in conversations about the afterlife and the fate of her deceased mother with the hell spawn. Unfortunately Erremantari can’t quite execute the same complexity of character and menacing demeanour of the demon as seen in Pan’s Labyrinth, hindered by the cliched look of the devil an constrained by the film’s simple premise.

While Errementari does have its moments, this Spanish film is neither scary nor particularly fantasy-based. The colour palette is suitably moody, with a lot of dark greys and browns mixed with pockets of other colours throughout its runtime giving a really dark feel. At times the film almost runs afoul of becoming a parody, such is the way the film clings so closely to the fairy tale structure whilst presenting a versification of the demon that borderlines on over-acting.

For those who have seen Pan’s Labyrinth and enjoyed that Spanish masterpiece, its influence can be felt throughout Errementari. The characters are largely forgettable and don’t really inspire any sort of strong feelings either way – both good and bad – although the demon is as charismatic as it is bizarre. This is unlikely to be a film remembered for years to come but its strong themes around good and evil at least help it from becoming an uninspiring fairy tale it threatens to become.

  • Verdict - 6/10