Santi (Junio Valverde) is an introverted teenage student who suffers from severe photophobia, which means sunlight causes him great physical pain and distress, and might even result in disfigurement if he’s caught out in bright daylight for too long. The condition is also responsible for producing certain odd physical traits as he gets older, such as enlarged canine teeth. The obvious vampire analogy, here, is central to the film’s definition of the adolescent’s status as a group outsider among his peers: Santi has nightmares about being caught outside in the daytime, chasing the retreating shadows but haemorrhaging and burning up in the glare before he can reach the safety of home. At the special evening school lessons he’s forced to attend because of his condition, Santi is thought of as the ‘freak’ and the ‘weirdo’ of the college – the equivalent of the misunderstood movie monster, in other words: a label he’s happy to apply to himself, since he and his equally ‘different’ friend Leo (Jimmy Barnatán) are typical, popular culture-imbibing video game & movie geeks.
The first uncanny incident involves a local Shepard called Fabián (Andrés Herrera), a dubious-looking figure with a scarred face who is angry and distraught after one of his sheep is discovered savaged by what appears to have been a wolf-like creature. Then Santi wakes one night in the old stone cottage that’s now his home, to hear what sound like the padding, scuffling paws of an animal moving about in the loft! Investigation reveals only the strange African tribal possessions of the former occupants – a German anthropologist couple who had a small daughter called Erica Hassel, whose framed photograph still remains on the sideboard in Santi’s room. When one of Santi’s schoolmates is viciously killed and mutilated in a similar attack, the new boy is implicated by hostile locals and by other students since he, Tito and the dead boy had all previously ventured into the forest surrounding the school on a dare, after Tito claimed to have seen some sort of creature there. Then Fabián is also murdered while in Santi’s presence, and the local police detective (Roberto Enríquez) investigating the two killings, can’t help but ponder the connection -- even though there is no DNA evidence linking Santi to the crimes.
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