My notes on the FrightFest selection.Here’s another one of these. After a prologue which seems to suggest it hooks onto the main story but doesn’t, we’re with a family being moved into a luxury home and having a minor squabble – Dad Jaime (Fernando Cayo) and Mom Marta (Ana Wagener) are at odds over whether daughter Isa (Manuela Velles) should go out for the evening with her boyfriend or stay in for a family meal in their new home – while Albanian movers shift their stuff in. A short time later, before Isa goes out, three masked Albanians – yes, the movers – burst in and loot the place. Jaime is dragged out by the boss invader (Dritan Biba) to get the maximum from the family’s cards at cash machines, leaving a rape-happy crazy (Martijn Kuiper) and a less-committed kid (Guillermo Barrientos) back home with the womenfolk. The film plays out in long takes, sometimes in split screen, as the situations get out of hand – several people call by and get threatened or killed, and the normals are pushed and mistreated into taking extreme action, though it’s grim enough to have almost everyone (including all the innocents) killed by the end of it.
The hold-hostages-while-someone-loots-ATMs bit has been overworked recently, and it never seems to turn out well for anyone – the perpetrators in Cherry Tree Lane were stupid kids and the villains of Mother’s Day were improvising in desperation, but this is supposed to be a well-planned racket that plainly hasn’t been thought out or risk-assessed. Yes, it’s upsetting watching regular people being terrorised, abused, raped, tortured and killed, but it’s hard to see what the actual point of this particular exercise is – unless it’s to say that Albanians are evil scum (the Eastern European connection is common in torture porn). An early chat about an ugly ornament tips off the major gore moment, when the maddened, raped teenage girl pulps her abuser’s head in for him. It’s swift and brutal, but this sort of in-your-face grimness really needs to be credible in the details – and it stubbornly isn’t: the crooks are inept, the family bungle escape/evasion attempts, the context is nebulous and the reason for making the film obscure. Written by Javier Garcia and Miguel Angel Vivas; directed by Vivas.