You have to be patient with Time Share, but once it pays off, the horror of the characters’ realities makes for a grandstanding moment.
At around the halfway point of Time Share, I was frustrated. I felt unsure of the story and wondered if there was an end goal to the misery the setting induces. The Netflix film requires a great deal of attention and patience because once you reach the final act, your interpretation of the movie comes to fruition.
I sincerely believe you can interpret Time Share in various ways. It’s half-tempting to replay the drama so I can understand the meaning of the terror that takes hold of the male leads. Time Share is solely about Pedro (Luis Gerardo Méndez), a husband and a father taking his family to a proclaimed paradise, where he has managed to gauge a decent deal for a villa.
What’s noticeable in the opening scenes is his willingness to force the holiday on to his wife; the atmosphere is the story. He tries to persuade sex, but his wife is more concerned with waking up their child for swimming. The film is abundantly clear that this is a holiday to rescue a dismantling family, not to enjoy the cool dips in the pool.
Meanwhile, Time Share shares a story of what seems to be a traumatic breakdown in the form of Andres (Miguel Rodarte), who collapses at the start of the movie. He is consumed by grief, and his mental state is apparent five years later; he is still working at the paradise resort with his wife, but the breakdown in marriage looks ugly.
Surprisingly, this is the core premise of Time Share and what follows is a 90-minute feature of horror. Not horror as in jump-scares and strange happenings, but paranoia, grief and insecurities taking hold of two men who are placing their reality above what is occurring. As soon as Pedro finds out he has to share his villa with another family due to a booking error, he slowly becomes consumed by this idea that the American timeshare conglomerate has a sinister plan to take his loved ones away.
The female leads tell as much of a story, as they are the victims of the terror consuming their husbands. Eva (Cassandra Ciangherotti) does not overtly give away whether this timeshare company has a plot, but her innocence, her hesitation towards her husband, forces the viewer to feel the same paranoia Pedro does. There is a real theme of patriarchy, as Eva starts to enjoy the company of the other man in the villa, albeit innocently, yet Pedro is so belittled by his mind that he feels he is losing the head of the family.
The final act is a worthy watch. You witness random accidents happen to Pedro that ruins his holiday, but leading up to the final moments, Time Share is wonderfully shot and manages to make an innocent-looking paradise resort look depressed, dark and miserable. I can only presume that the characters are residing in hot weather, but the tone of each scene does not give the impression of a paradise.
The one major issue with Time Share is its overindulgence. The film enjoys the normality of the family holiday scenario for far too long. The purpose is to withhold as much information as possible, but further insight into the two women would have provided a far stronger and emotionally appealing movie. There are long stretches where the film slams home the eery music, and then chooses random shots of the resort, yet the strength should have laid more in the characters at the time. At least to frustrate the viewer less.
Time Share is a gem of a movie that I was lucky to watch. It’s on Netflix, which seems to be picking the right international films. It sits alongside Nothing to Hide for 2018.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.