You're Not Me (Tú no eres yo) (Fantastic Fest 2023)
Dir. Marisa Crespo & Moisés Romera (2023)
A young woman and her wife return to the family home for Christmas and is surprised to see a new face that has seemingly taken her place.
There are many films that deal with intruders that threaten to take your place in the world, imposters that say they're one thing when they're actually another to gain your trust and pull off one scam or another. Sometimes they're simply common thieves, like in Catch Me If You Can, and sometimes they're something worse, perhaps even aliens who are stealing people's identities in order to take over the world (you know the one). When Aitana (Roser Tapias) brings home her wife Gabi (Yapoena Silva) for Christmas to surprise her parents, she is shocked to find that they have allowed a stranger named Nadia (Anna Kurrika) into their home and given her many of the things that used to belong to their daughter. As Aitana struggles to reveal the nature of the intruder, she spirals into a conflict between her new family and her old.
You're Not Me won't be a surprise for many of the people watching, but it's largely handled well enough to where that won't be a problem. It's a Christmas film, and it's a good one at that, the first of three in the Fantastic Fest lineup. Despite being a Spanish production, most of the traditions and culture of the yuletide season are the same as our own, giving the film a familiar feel to American Christmas horror fans to the extent that it slides easily into a December watchlist, and it's an intriguing enough film that it works just about every other time of the year as well.
I won't post a lot about the plot other than what I've already said, despite the relatively predictable ending. I will say that the ending is surprisingly well done, genuinely scary, and pretty damn impactful. It's one of the better of its kind that I've come across, which is high praise due to the large number of films that deal with exactly this type of thing. My one major gripe in this film is the character of Aitana, whose judgmental nature and over-the-top insistence that she be the most important part of the holiday season grates on the nerves after a while. You certainly can't blame her for her irritation and confusion, but it's so constant and irritating that it's easy to see why everyone in the film doesn't seem to like her very much.
That is not, however, to say that Tapias does a bad job: on the contrary, she plays the part very well, a new mother who wants desperately to protect her family while still feeling that connection to the ones that raised her as well. The other actors all do a fine job as well, especially Kurrika, who is exactly as creepy as she needs to be to play the mysterious newcomer Nadia. The folklore aspects of the film are also interesting, and the recurrent themes of mental illness, past indiscretions, and family are engaging and help to build the world in which the story is told. The writing and direction are also largely excellent, with some fantastic shots and scenes that echo throughout the film and serve to elevate the story to a higher level.
While You're Not Me is unlikely to take its place in the pantheon of holiday horror movies, it's a well-crafted thriller that definitely deserves some consideration. I haven't watched too terribly many Spanish horror films, and this one was "Americanized" enough to where it's not a difficult watch by any means. If you're able to tolerate subtitles (and can read relatively quickly, because they're gone in a flash), this one is definitely worth checking out this holiday season.
Who this movie is for: Holiday horror fans, Foreign horror lovers, Piglets
Bottom line: You're Not Me is a better-than-average thriller with some serious Christmas potential. It's relatively predictable for anyone familiar with horror, but that alone is definitely not a reason to watch because it manages its twists and turns with relative ease. The acting is good, the story is excellent, and the ending is delightfully creepy and particularly well done. If you get a chance to check this one out this holiday season, I highly recommend giving it a go.