Director – Jaume Balaguero
Cast – Emma Vilarasau, Karra Elejalde, Tristán Ulloa, Toni Sevilla, Brendan Price
Release Year – 1999 / 2005 (US)
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Before co-writing/directing the fantastic REC and REC 2, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Balaguero preceded his mediocre Darkness and Fragile with his debut film The Nameless, a fantastic effort that shows the true potential this man harbored early on in his career. While not as hard-hitting as his REC series, we are given a fantastic supernatural-esque tale that comes with a heavy mystery element complimented with Balaguero’s writing and direction.
When the mutilated and badly decomposed body of a six year old girl is found in an abandoned water well, authorities fully believe it to be the body of a young girl missing for quite some time. Only two pieces of evidence are found though: a bracelet with the missing girl’s name on it, and a physical deformity that the missing girl suffered from. Her parents are notified of the find, and accept this as proof that their little girl is gone from them forever. 5 years pass, a divorce ensues, and things turn awry when the mother, Claudia, receives a phone call from her “daughter” asking her to find her before she is killed. Claudia is skeptical at first, but when strange clues begin to surface around her she enlists the help of the now -retired detective that handled her case to help her find her daughter, leading them down a dangerous path with little answers and lots of mayhem.
I was not impressed with Balaguero’s pre-REC films Darkness and Fragile, and despite this film’s positive reviews I went into this watch a little skeptical, but thankfully I was given what I wanted to see. If you know me then you know I enjoy a heavy mystery element in horror films, and the pseudo-supernatural stuff thrown in only added to my enjoyment. The idea of Claudia receiving a phone call from her supposedly “long-dead” daughter was a nice touch despite it not being an original idea, and the events that occur as Claudia desperately tries to find her child were awesome to watch. We get numerous developments throughout, all perfectly paced in this 102 minute film and consisting of highly engaging material that had me glued to the screen. As the film goes on it eventually comes off much like The Silence of the Lambs, however it carries its own original material and even gives us a sweet harrowing climax to seal the experience.
Balaguero does a fantastic job setting up the atmosphere for this film, with superb cinematography, excellent lighting, and creepy sets that deliver the gloomy and spooky nature the storyline consists of. We are given positive performances by all actors involved, and the horror provided is top-notch despite it not being as brash as Balauero’s other films. His execution overall is excellent, and he sells every imaginable element to the viewer in superb fashion.
Overall, The Nameless is a good watch that delivers an awesome story shown in awesome fashion. Jaume Balaguero does a fantastic job giving us a film with heavy mystery and good horror, and to its own credit it comes off somewhat like the Spanish The Silence of the Lambs but with its own creative elements thrown in, always a good thing.