Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Movies That Rip Off Just About Everything - And Still Suck At It

Atrocious (2010) Spain

I have one good thing to say about this movie: Thank you very much those who made this film for calling it exactly what it is. That was truly refreshing. There is no 'alternate' title, it is, was and 
always will be ATROCIOUS. It was the only good thing about this done-to-death found footage, hand-held camera piece of garbage that you've seen in better movies. But hey, if spending 75 minutes watching mostly ground and trees bouncing all around in day and 'night vision' modes, upside down and an annoying 'rewind' of footage whenever the movie think it needs to make a point then hey, this movie is perfect for you. Oh, and it is dubbed in English... UK English, so expect language like 'knackered' peppered throughout the movie.

What could possibly go wrong?
A truly cautionary tale. One, if you're going to be teenagers playing Paranormal Investigators, expect to be slaughtered. That's just what happens in these movies. Two, nothing is going to happen AT ALL except in the last 10 minutes or so of your footage so, you know, don't try to make it interesting or anything. Oh and three, knowing your family history is kind of important too - having knowledge of any psychos in your family tree is very, very helpful. Sigh. This story went by the day-to-day format but I didn't fall for that one again, just waited it out - five days worth that took way too long but hey they had to fill up a movie.

I'm not going to lose my head over this...
Cristian (Christian) and his sister July (pronounced Julie) have their own web-show of "paranormal investigations" covering urban legends (I imagine there's probably thousands of those by now - and no, I'm not gonna look). They go on holiday at their summer home in Sitges, a place by the Mediterranean - a place described as the 'Saint Tropez' of Spain so the area is very rich and the house is one of those places you'd kill just to live in (no pun intended) but they just have on hand whenever they feel like it. I HATE these people already. They decide since they have to be there (poor, poor abused children) they'll look up the urban legend of a supposed ghost named 'Melinda' who went missing in 1940 and, depending on who you talk to, is either very helpful if you get lost or very nasty. A family friend who maintains the house, Carlos, gives his version of what he was told by his father of the story. This means absolutely nothing to the movie. Just warning you. Outside of this huge 'summer home' is an overgrown but huge labyrinth (I feel some Shining activity coming on) that despite both father and mother's admonition to stay out, they insist on screwing around in (hence the endless bouncy bouncy footage of hedges and dirt trails). The father merely says about it that their mother knew her way around it when she was little. Okay, why he offered that information I don't know but let's continue...

I can't wait to meet David Bowie...
This 'found footage' is police property, since five days after they arrive the children and a family friend are found brutally murdered and this is supposed to be for the police to figure out what the hell happened. Which I suppose is how they explain all the running backward, stopped, and plain blacked out moments that stretch on forever. Oh and don't forget all the kid's heavy breathing... and crying. Lots and lots of crying.

When the film finally gets to the point, at first it's the father going back to Madrid on business, leaving mommy and the kids. This dad needs to seriously be locked up... First to die is the family dog - the two PI's found he's been killed and thrown in an old well. That night their mother gets hysterical, saying their young brother Jose' is missing and out in the dark. And here we go with the bouncy bouncy footage in the dark, as apparently Cristian's camera's night vision doesn't work so well. Everyone inevitably gets separated. Finally in what seemed like an eternity (I really miss my fast forward button), Cristian finds July, tied to the pillars of a small gazebo, bleeding profusely. He leads her back to the house, where they find José's burnt body in the fireplace (I don't remember anyone using this thing, much less have it hot enough to burn a body but...). Cristian hides his sister in a kitchen cupboard advising her to be quiet, and when an axe sinks in the outside door (Seriously, Stephen King needs to do some protesting here.), hotfoots it to his room, blocking the door for the rest of the night. In the morning, he takes his camera and goes downstairs to find the home completely ruined. In the kitchen the cupboard is now empty but covered in blood. He keeps hearing music, then talking. He goes into the basement where he and his sister had set up an old TV and VCR to look at their footage. An old video tape is playing....

I'm going to lose my head, aren't I?
We get the backward film action and lots of garbage and have to wait until it starts again... this time with police photos of the crime scene, with the 911 call from the family friend, Carlos, who was also found butchered, presumably as he was talking with the dispatcher. We also get different police reports of the 'crime scene' using footage that would never pass on American televised news, I don't know how much they would allow in other countries...

Then the nauseating flip flop and black and backwards stuff and we get the end of the story. This is why the father seriously needed to be locked up. Their mother was, is and always will be, in effect, Jack Torrence (more Shining rip-offs here), a paranoid schizophrenic. This is not disrespecting those with the disease, just those who like to pretend it doesn't exist and doesn't need to be treated. See, these nice kids used to have a sister they didn't know of - until mommy, suffering yet again from her disease that apparently she's had since childhood, killed her. She was institutionalized (The kids don't remember this?) where the doctors say with each child she gets worse (Why the hell did the father keep having kids with this woman?) and I guess little Jose' was the last bloody straw - literally. AND for some reason only the film knows, her condition becomes at its worst at night or in the dark. Ooookay. So Cristian is watching this tape of his mom trying to tell the doctors a woman named 'Elvira' killed the baby, not her... but he doesn't get to see more, 'cause his mom sneaks up behind him with the axe... and no more Cristian.

This horrible, nauseating (footage, not carnage) film must be Spain's way of getting into the 'found footage' genre that, unfortunately for everyone, just like 3D films (and films remade in 3D) is a fad that has not yet passed. But you don't have to watch it, and you're welcome.