Haunted: Latin America episode 1 recap – “The House of the Damned”

March 31, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 1
Netflix, TV Recaps
1

Summary

Loaded with haunted house cliches, “The House of the Damned” gets Haunted: Latin America off to a thoroughly unconvincing start.

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1

Summary

Loaded with haunted house cliches, “The House of the Damned” gets Haunted: Latin America off to a thoroughly unconvincing start.


This recap of Haunted: Latin America episode 1, “The House of the Damned”, contains spoilers.


Sometimes, the fun of Haunted is piecing together the real genesis of whatever fabrication the episode concerns itself with. You might recall in the show’s second season the story of a college-age girl who slept with someone who wasn’t her boyfriend and then claimed it was really a shape-shifting demon masquerading as her — I think we can all figure that particular riddle out. “The House of the Damned” gives similar clues to the real origins of an ostensibly cursed house that, at least according to the episode’s narrator and storyteller Brisa Ramirez, attempted to destroy both her and her family. But my theory is actually quite morbid and isn’t as easy to make fun of.

We’re told that what follows is a true story, though it’s hard to agree. Brisa is gathered with her sons, Dario and Eddie, her husband Arturo, and her brother Roberto, all of whom have some previous with the crib, which you can tell is haunted because the re-enactments lay a wibbly-wobbly filter over the POV shots of Brisa unpacking her belongings. She got the house in a divorce settlement and was apparently happy to move in, at least until she heard the slapping footsteps of a barefoot child. Her children were wearing shoes. Whatever might it mean?

Other weirdnesses besiege Brisa. When she puts the kids’ toys away, she later finds them neatly arranged on the couch. What is this, the ghost of Marie Kondo? It’s enough to persuade her to booby-trap the house with bells, which begin to chime just as the kids do with their own version of events. This is where I started to develop a theory.

At night, Dario and Eddie caught glimpses of a charred figure standing behind the window and felt a presence, which is such a completely nebulous sentence that it’s better to say nothing at all. But they also share stories of Brisa going ballistic at a bricklayer and aggressively chopping fruit and veg, screaming at them to go away. This was, apparently, out of character. And the only conceivable explanation is that she was possessed by a demon?

Well, not really. Call me cynical, but I think a single mother of two on the other side of a messy divorce might have plenty of reasons to act out of character. At one point the kids explain how they began to associate their nightmares with her; the charred face of a man choking them became the snarling face of their own mother. Wouldn’t a kid, frightened by a sudden display of stress and aggression, internalize that fear in such a way? I’m just spitballing here.

As if to disprove my theory, Haunted: Latin America episode 1 takes things further, with Brisa being carried outside by an unseen force while she remained totally unaware, coming to only to discover scratches on her shoulders. In the bathroom after a shower, she gets thrown around by the same invisible entity, and it’s enough to convince her to pack up and move the kids into grandma’s while she gets a job at a “government agency”, meets Arturo, and has another son, Gabriel.

Thanks to some ill-defined bureaucratic issues, Brisa and Arturo have no choice but to move the family back into the house. At this point, Brisa ominously declares, the worst part of the nightmare was still to come. Nobody talks like this!

Anyway, Brisa needed urgent surgery because her gallbladder was about to explode, but because of complications her heart stopped beating and she left her body, floating above it as she was being resuscitated. This apparently gave her a kind of sixth sense for the otherwordly, but she never displays it in any form whatsoever. Back at the house, everyone hears voices on Gabriel’s baby monitor and sprints into his room to find his cot swinging around. They all get ragged about and leave again, at which point Brisa’s brother, Roberto, in need of somewhere to live and skeptical of Brisa’s claims that the place is haunted, moves in. Why would she let him?

Predictably, skeptical Roberto also sees a small child crying, feels intense suffering, and scarpers. Since he wasn’t inclined to believe such things in the first place, Brisa takes his experiences as confirmation that the house was definitely haunted. Then she returns to it anyway to retrieve some documents, at which point she’s greeted by a smell just like the one when you dig something up that has been buried for a long time. That isn’t a normal smell! Who’s digging up buried things? Anyway, she floats out into the backyard again, and believes the spirits follow her when she leaves, so on the recommendation of Arturo’s parents she visits a healer about whom, rather incredibly given all she claims to have experienced, she was skeptical.

The healer in Haunted: Latin America episode 1 claims that “The House of the Damned” contains the spirits of a child and two very evil men, and that they left the house with her. She provides Brisa with a goodie bag of trinkets and advises her to perform rituals and bathe in essences, which she does, supervised by Arturo and his parents. After she starts choking on some hair, they all perform an exorcism.

This seems to work. Brisa and her family moved far away, but she still thinks about the boy trapped in the house of the damned, and still has a fear of hurting her kids. I’ll bet.

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1 thought on “Haunted: Latin America episode 1 recap – “The House of the Damned”

  • April 2, 2021 at 5:52 am
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    I wonder if I can find any information about this house and what happened with the boy and the two evil men

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