A young couple, Julia and Rafa, have a small argument on the way back home from a get-together Julia’s brother was having. Julia’s not happy that her husband drank so much, and scolds him for acting immaturely, especially now that they have a young son to look after. Rafa brushes off her concerns and nods off until they get home. He takes his son upstairs to change him and starts playing a game of Peek-a-boo (AKA: Cucu). Julia asks him who he’s playing with, as she’s feeding their son downstairs, and it’s only then that Rafa realizes that something is horribly wrong.
Cucu (pronounced Coo-Coo) is a Spanish horror short from 2019 directed by Victor Marin. At a little less than 8-minutes long, this is another short film on the rather…. short side. But unlike some other short films (like Unlawful Duties, for instance) I think it does an excellent job of telling a tale that not only has something to say, but also manages to have an engaging story (or at least engaging enough considering it’s short length.)
Like all good horror movies, the film is using it’s story and horrific imagery as a commentary on real-life issues. Sort of like how films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers are likened to allegories of McCarthyism or Communism, except in this case the meaning is fully intentional. So the film is essentially an 8-minute long metaphor. But, if you don’t care about things like that, the film also works well as a stand-alone horror tale. There is a couple, there is a baby, something horrifying happens, the end. It’s simple, yes, but it’s effective. As is, I suspect, the film’s name, which is a play on both the Spanish version of Peek-a-Boo, but also an English term for “crazy.” The only downside, story-wise, that the film has is that, like most short films, it ends without any kind of resolution. But in this case, I think that actually helps highlight the point the film is trying to make, so for once I’ll give it a pass.
On the technical side, the film looks great. Everything is clear and crisp and not at all as dark as the movie poster makes it out to be. In fact, most of the film takes place in a well-lit house, so there shouldn’t be any issues seeing what’s going on. The movie also likes to utilize odd angles, which keep the visuals engaging and helps add to the tension.
The acting here is pretty minimal, but what is there is a good fit for the material. Nothing stands out as being stellar or horrible. Hell, even the baby was tolerable in this, but that may be due to the fact that it has so little screen time. Either way, I’m not going to complain.
All in all, Cucu is a fine little horror outing. The movie works as a stand-alone story, but also gets the other point across that the filmmakers were trying to make. It’s not perfect, as the abrupt ending does make it feel a bit unfinished, but it’s a nice way to spend a quick couple of minutes. Just be prepared to read some subtitles if you’re not a native Spanish speaker.
Cucu is available on a variety of streaming services.