Maternity! What would terror be without her? From «Psycho» to Hereditary», from «Rosemary’s Baby» to «Good night mommy», the relationship between mothers and children has been embroidered in a thousand and one ways in the genre. “Cage”, the feature debut of Spanish director Ignacio Tatay It is a new approach to the subject.
The film comes from the hand of an important producer: PokeepsieFilmsby Alex de la Iglesia (“The day of the beast”, “The witches of Zugarrimundi”) and Carolina Bang (“Sad trumpet ballad”). In addition, she is played by Elena Anaya, who in 2012 surprised the world with her performance in “The Skin I Live In.” That is why it is not surprising that it generated a certain expectation. But what is this tape about?
Paula (Anaya) and her husband (Pablo Molinero) find a lonely and confused girl on the road. (Eva Tennear), who is apparently mute. Two weeks later, after learning that no one claimed her and due to her adaptability problems in the hospital, the couple gave her temporary shelter. This decision will forever change the lives of the three.
The film is slow at first and sins of betting everything on an unbelievable resolution or, let’s say, abruptly handled. Or, as it reads in decide, “not very consistent” Nevertheless, the production has many interesting things, such as the use of chalk as the engine of the plot. What seems to be the beginning of a supernatural description ends with a clever rational explanation.
Precisely, if you already saw the movie, you probably have several pending questions due to that radical change that Isabel Peña and Tatay himself expose in the script, in the last section of the production. Here we are going to answer those concerns, but not without first warning the unsuspecting reader that they come spoilers.
How do chalk paths work?
Paula and Simón (Pablo Milonero) try to get Clara (Eva Tennear) better by taking her home. The little girl, however, still does not speak and is unable to move beyond a small square drawn on the floor. Then, Paula uses the chalk to create larger imaginary “spaces” or paths to the rest of the home.. Somehow (we’ll find out why later), the girl only feels safe following those lines marked on the floor.
In this context, Paula begins by fixing a small space which then expands so that Clara feels comfortable. As explained in the film, the girl is not mute, she simply does not understand the Spanish language. In addition, it is difficult for her to communicate with her because she has suffered a trauma and that trauma is associated with her kidnapping and the murder of her mother, at the hands of her neighbor, Eduardo Olivares (Carlos Santos). We will understand this later.
Does Paula suffer from mental health problems?
“Cage” plays from the beginning with Paula’s possible problems associated with a frustrated motherhood. That is why she regularly injects herself, in an attempt to get pregnant, at the same time that, once Clara enters the life of the couple, she acts more like a mother than an adult interested in the girl overcoming her trauma. .
The script is clever enough for viewers to believe that there is indeed a mental deterioration and that Paula has become obsessed with Clara, to the point that she is not able to accept the obvious: that the girl has some psychopathy that leads her to put glass in her food, so that a pregnant woman and Paula herself are victims of cuts in the mouth and throat.
However, through flashback we are shown that it was not the girl but the criminal, Eduardo, who planned everything; she was the one who killed Clara’s mom and taught the girl to move only in the confined spaces with chalk. Also, she put the glass in the food.
How does Paula discover Eduardo?
It is precisely Paula’s maternal instinct that pushes her to discover the truthd. First, he doesn’t think Clara is capable of putting glass in food. In fact, he always tries to understand the little girl when she has outbursts of rage. This is how, looking for a rational explanation for everything that has happened, she takes a police file home.
Among other things, Paula discovers that years ago, a young woman had been physically and sexually assaulted. Among the objects of the investigation found at the crime scene, there were paper designs equal to the ones that Clara gave her and that looked like little angels. She understands the protagonist that there must be some kind of relationship between this aggression and the little girl and interviews the doctor who had performed the autopsy on the young woman. The galena informs him that the victim had a lazy eye, which means that one eye was weaker than the other.
Paula continues reviewing the cases of the file that was stolen and finds that a young German woman, with a patch over one eye, had been kidnapped on a beach in Malaga about ten years ago and was still missing. With this information, she returns home and sees the drawing that Clara had shown her several times and only then does she understand that the drawing coincides with the point of view from the window that she faces toward Eduardo’s house. In fact, the murderer himself greets her at that moment. This is where everything fits perfectly: the little girl had been warning Paul all this timea about the “Bogeyman”, as the urban legend of the Bogeyman is called and as by extension child kidnappers are called.
What had Eduardo done and why did he leave Clara on the road?
According to what is read in the files stolen by Paula, a German girl had disappeared in 2012, but was actually kidnapped by Eduardo, who had sexually assaulted her and eventually impregnated her. Once she gives birth, the young Ella is killed in 2017. The little girl that was born is none other than Clara.
Now, there is something that can confuse the audience. In one scene it is seen that Eduardo leaves Clara on the road and tells you to follow the chalk line, which is really the marking that divides the path. Why does the criminal do that? Well, simply because there was a police checkpoint. It is likely that the criminal believed that he could later find her, but that is when Paula and Simón enter the scene, a scene that we saw at the beginning of the film.
How does Eduardo get Clara back?
As in “Usual Suspects”, Isabel Peña and Ignacio Tatay have a surprise in store: the murderer has always been in sight, since he is part of Paula’s group of friends. That is why during a meal, we see how the raptor puts glass in the jam and other foods that were presumably part of Clara’s diet. It is likely that the psychopath played, desperately, the option that the girl could die by eating the sharp pieces.
But Eduardo had already tried to kidnap Clara from Paula and Simon’s house. In another flashback they show it. He failed at the first but succeeded at the second. The clue that the girl leaves with her drawing is what allows the protagonist to conclude that her neighbor is the kidnapper and therefore informs the police about such suspicion.
How do the police discover that Eduardo is lying?
One of the film’s flaws is that by betting on a shocking ending, everything is resolved very quickly and some important details overlap. For example: Was Eduardo’s wife an accomplice? How does Clara escape? How do the police conclude that Eduardo is guilty of Clara’s kidnapping? Let’s answer all those questions calmly.
First, Paula, without much protective instinct, for wanting to rescue Clara at all costs, goes to Eduardo’s house. She there she is reduced and cloistered in the basement where she is also the little one. Two officers, warned by the protagonist’s call before these events, arrive at the residence. Apparently, they drop the case after the killer’s explanations.
Nevertheless, Eduardo must go out to get the file that Paul had stolen and that he must disappear so that there is no evidence of his crimes. During her absence, the would-be mother throws some chalk at her which she conveniently carries with her and invites Clara to leave her safe space and trace her own path out of the basement.
When Eduardo returns, he goes down to the basement and looks for Clara. We realize then that Paula’s strategy worked and heThe girl manages to escape by locking the criminal, closing the door from the outside. The girl leaves the house and sees that Simon is on the phone, but the adult does not listen to her. At that moment, Maite (Eva Llorach) appears, who silences the infant and takes her back to her kidnapper.
Why doesn’t Maite tell Simón everything? It seems that instantly understanding the situation, he is moved by the option of using these events to travel and see his children again. It is obvious that she is afraid of Eduardo and so she finds an advantage to at least escape from his supervision. However, these plans are quickly foiled as special forces break in to retrieve Clara and Paula.
If the agents had left, convinced by Eduardo, why do these agents suddenly appear? The explanation is that Simón had noticed that his wife and the girl had disappeared and insisted on a new search. At the same time, Maite did not notice that by dragging Clara, the girl had left traces of chalk on the front door, a clue that any authority would have followed. In this way the cycle is closed: the tool that the psychopath had used to keep the girl at bay, she ended up playing against her.