Virginia loses her daughter Rebeca at a road diner. It's not just an abduction, but Rebeca will be part of a ritual sacrifice. It becomes a race against time when Virginia faces an ultimatum: she has one day to find and save her daughter, but she also has to do it before the parents of other abducted children does.
"White Coffin" is the brain child of brothers Adrián and Ramiro García Bogliano. Both names should be fairly familiar to you. Adrián has directed titles such as "I'll Never Die Alone", "Here Comes the Devil" and "Late Phases". Ramiro has co-directed titles like "The Accursed" and "Penumbra" with Adrián. Together they have written a script that seems heavily inspired by road thrillers like "The Hitcher" and "Duel", but also applies a '70s occult plot to it. The screenplay is put in the hands of director Daniel de la Vega ("Necrophobia", "Blood Brothers"), who successfully creates a vibe that honors the intensity of movies that inspired it.
At first the plot seems pretty straight forward. Virginia and her daughter, Rebeca, are on the road. It appears that Virginia is losing a custody battle, and has decided to get away with her daughter. Virginia just wants to be with her daughter, and that doesn't change when Rebeca is suddenly abducted by someone in a rusty truck. At the same road diner, another mother loses her child. Virginia's gut instincts puts her at the wheel of her car, speeding to follow the truck. Before she knows it, she's rammed from behind by an ambulance and crashes. She wakes up in a coffin, helped up by a mysterious man who tells her that she has one day to find a white coffin, and bring it to save her daughter, or she will be sacrificed by a sect.
The movie is actually great fun for fans of road thrillers. Whether it's a classic like "The Hitcher", or a newer movie like "Joyride", the key to them being successful road thrillers to me is the intensity and haste that you feel watching them. The idea behind "White Coffin", that a mother has one day to find her daughter, instantly puts you in the right mindset. Despite actually being a supernatural/occult horror movie (plot-wise), it doesn't mind including some more action heavy sequences on the road (I knew I'd enjoy the movie when Virginia was chasing a truck, only to be followed by a maniac in an ambulance). When it's not a road thriller, the movie rings close to classics like "The Wicker Man".
Despite being a very enjoyable movie overall, I had some minor issues. One issue is with the editing. This issue is hard for me to describe because it doesn't seem to be just one certain thing. I'm not sure exactly what does it, but at times the edits are jarring. Whether it is how it jumps to another shot, how it uses music, or how edits are used in certain shots, it kills the atmosphere for the moment. It doesn't make the movie any less entertaining, but while the majority of the movie is executed very well, it has these odd moments that feel amateurish in comparison. It might have to do with how they have tightened the movie into an high-octaned 75 minutes.
My second problem with "White Coffin" is that we don't get a lot of explanations. We never really understand the "why", the true importance behind the white coffin, or even what the sect is. What this leads to is that we don't know the antagonists in any way. We know that they are a bad sacrificing sect of kidnappers, but that's it. It was hard at times to understand what the whole point of it was. Luckily, the movie survives this, and that's all thanks to how it accomplishes the vibe of its inspirations.
"White Coffin" is not a perfect movie, but it is a fun movie. Its flaws are easily ignored and you're wrapped up in the speed of the movie. It has some moments where you stop and scratch your head because you don't get all the informationen needed, but in the end I think it's better to just stop thinking at that point. The mix of ideas in the movie all work well, and even when you realise you are following a woman who has essentially run away with her daughter, you're completely on her side. The movie is fuled by a parent's survival instinct and love for her daughter, and it's hard to deny that it's a powerful theme behind it all. "White Coffin" is a bleak, yet fun, occult road thriller that's worth your time.