Starring Callista Flockheart, this 2005 movie is a horror thriller mix from director Jaume Balaguero.
Flockheart plays Amy Nicholls, a newly appointed night nurse at a children’s hospital, which is soon to be closed down and abandoned. However, there is a force at work in the old building which does not want the place to be abandoned and it soon becomes horribly clear to Amy that there is something beyond the normal at work here, something that the terrified children call the mechanical girl. This force has a strange hold over the children and it will not allow the closure to go ahead, using everything it has at its disposal to ensure that it gets it’s own way. But what is the mechanical girl and how can Amy prevent it from wrecking the lives of not just the children under her care, but her own life itself?
Though she will forever be remembered for Ally McBeal, Flockheart does her best to break through the stereotyping in this movie and delivers an intense and engaging performance. Amy is a very strong character, her protective instincts towards the kids in her care coming to the fore and forcing her to face down her fears as she tries to get to the bottom of the problem. She comes across as very real in a movie which eschews blood and gore for more psychologically based horror. And it succeeds brilliantly in this, being a genuinely shocking and disturbing movie with a lot of very clever twists in the plot, meaning that the audience never quite knows what is coming next. The realisation of the mechanical girl is superbly creepy and it’s actions unpredictable, meaning they we really share Amy’s fear whenever its presence is felt.
The direction is stylish with Baluguero giving the hospital an eerie and sterile feel,. Complimented by the superb cinematography and a dulled and washed out lighting palette. Definitely one of the spookier films to be released in the last decade, it can be compared to the excellent “The Orphanage” and does not suffer by comparison. The child actors, who can often let a film down are all excellent and believable and their plight really does move the viewer. One to watch, but not in a darkened room.
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Writers: Jaume Balagueró, Jordi Galceran
Stars: Calista Flockhart, Richard Roxburgh,Elena Anaya
Release Date: 14 October 2005 (Spain)