Wednesday 30 May 2012

Atrocious (2010)

Another Spanish horror movie that's based around some "found footage", this is also another example of  how to get it all just right. You may already be deciding to watch something else after hearing that this is a "found footage" movie, and I don't blame you for thinking that the style has been overused and stretched thin lately, but if you fancy something a bit creepy that also doesn't cop out by showing absolutely nothing then I recommend giving this a go.

Written and directed by Fernando Barreda Luna, Atrocious is all about a family going to spend some time at their holiday home. It's a very nice place but there's a local legend about the ghost of a little girl who meets anyone lost in the nearby countryside. Is the spirit good or bad? Is she even real? Cristian (Cristian Valencia) and his sister July (Clara Moraleda) are determined to find out because they like to investigate paranormal events and urban legends for the webshow that they host. And what better way to find out than by wandering around the large hedge maze that sits practically on their doorstep? Things, as you might guess, soon take a turn for the creepy.

The acting on display here is pretty good from everyone involved and, technically, the movie is fine but this kind of film tends to stand or fall based on one major factor - just how believable is the constant camerawork. Sadly, things become less believable as the movie works towards a big ending but for 3/4 of the runtime everything feels just fine. The atmosphere soon moves from the light and cheery opening scenes to something full of potential danger, a creepy mix of shadows and threat even during daylight hours.

Like most films of this kind, you may end up feeling frustrated by what you can't see and what you have to put up with (shaky-cam, chaotic moments of disorientation, etc) but you may take some comfort in the fact that this all actually leads to something pretty interesting and revelatory in its final moments, as opposed to the many movies in this subgenre that seem to tease and tease and tease and then just end.

There's still every chance that you end up thinking this is just another muddled, dizzying, dull excuse for a film. Every chance. Yet I really liked it and I hope that some others at least give it a go after reading this review.


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