A young woman, Greta, Zuria Vega, learns that her Aunt has died and left her, her mansion and all its contents. She brings her three best friends, Maria, Adriana Louvier, Pilar, Eréndira Ibarra and Vicky, Ona Casamiquela to live with her there. Greta’s father and mother are dead and so besides them she is all alone. Pilar is the sister of Greta’s boyfriend, Pedro, José María Torre. When the lawyer comes to tell her about the inheritance, there is one stipulation that she take care of her Aunt’s (Tia which is Spanish for Aunt) cat Becker.
After they arrive at the house we meet the caretaker, Evangelina, Margarita Sanz. Evangelina is old and seems to know all the ins and outs of the mansion. It is through her that we learn that Tia said that Becker was a special cat and ‘of another world’. However, no more is said about how the cat figures in or what makes him special. As soon as they enter the house though strange things begin to happen.
There are many long tracking shots of the hallway with a couch under a large bay window, shadows which seem to be the old woman, which come and go. Maria brings her ferret with her to the house, and within hours it is killed. She blames Becker. Yet, there is no proof that the cat killed him, just the assumption. After this the girls host a large party in which the cat meets a tragic end. Pedro tries to force himself on Greta however, after he meets resistance he finds his satisfaction elsewhere.
‘Mas Negro Que la Noche’ is a Mexican horror film, and while the setting and direction are well done, the story is thin; characters are one dimensional, and the pacing slow. This film creeps, not in creepiness, but in the very telling of its story. It is so boring that it was difficult to stay awake during the long repetitive shots of the hallway, the dimly lit rooms, Greta forever pulling and stroking her hair, or the little girl Ana (Was that Tia, it is never made clear) who she sees as a ghost wandering the hallways.
Evangelina is eerie as the housekeeper, but we do not learn just what her connection to Tia was and why she is so devoted. She asks Greta if she remembers being there when she was little, but Greta does not. She has odd nightmares which then pull her out of reality and back into it. For all of this, the characters do incredibly dumb things. If you are fighting being possessed by a dead person, why would you wear their clothing or put on their jewelry? Further if you are scared, why snort cocaine? None of these things make sense.
There are discrepancies in the film, such as the fact that there was a three way love triangle between Tia, her fiancé and a maid, and then there is a parallel one between Greta, Pedro and one of the girls. How these things are connected we do not know and if there is supposed to be a pattern which is repeated in two life times, then what is the purpose? Are Greta and Tia the same person just in two different incarnations? Again, there are no answers.
“Mas Que la Noche” is such a flat piece of drama that at times it feels like something which would have been better suited to a Telenova rather than the large screen. For American audiences, the subtitles go so fast that one does not have time to read one, before the next one appears. This is a huge failing, because it leaves viewers trying to recall what they read before to make sense of the next scene (and then the one which follows) and then trying to do so before the next set of subtitles occurs.
It is sad that a film which could have had a following among Mexican audiences (and American as well) fell so short. However, the it is so slow that one feels as if they are gasping for air. We do not get the rush that horror fans crave till the last fifteen minutes of the film when it finally peaks and then falls with merely a sputter.