Writer/director Calzada’s trippy, arresting feature generates ample chills while unfolding a more earthbound yet heartrending tale of loss and regret. The viewer experiences all Ulises’ fear and confusion, aggravated by some terrifying hallucinations which may or may not be rooted in reality. Salgueiro’s unnerving turn as neighbor Elena, a photographer in a very dark place, keeps us glued, even as we learn about the old couple’s estranged daughter, the guilt of which Ulises has long carried. For a horror film with a difference, watch “Nocturna”. (“Nocturna-Side B”, released simultaneously, delivers a less linear, more abstract take on the same story. Those not drawn to avant-garde filmmaking should stick with “Side A”).
Nonagenarian Ulises (Soriano) doesn’t know it, but he’s confronting the last night of his very long life. Afflicted with mild dementia, he lives in a dusty, crumbling apartment with his bitter, complaining wife Dalia (Marini). As the hours pass, the old man’s mind begins to merge past and present, fantasy and reality. As this bizarre, disorienting process continues, Ulises finally faces up to some very big past mistakes. Meanwhile, an unhinged neighbor (Salgueiro) intrudes on their privacy, with horrific consequences.