Director – Fernando Barreda Luna
Cast – Jose Masegosa, Cristian Valencia, Chus Pereiro, Rafael Amaya
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Boy was this a film that I was really looking forward to. After hearing of this piece and watching the debut trailer a while after, I was very stoked to go into this one given I do mostly enjoy the POV style of filmmaking (if it’s done right of course) and seeing that it came from Spain (REC anyone?) I expected good results, but boy was I let down.
On April 4th 2010, the Quintanilla family was found brutally murdered in their countryside home. Authorities confirmed that roughly 37 hours of video recordings were found at the scene due to an attempt by Christian and July Quintanilla to document the Legend of the Girl in the Garraf Woods found adjacent to their home. This movie contains the evidence Christian and July collected before their deaths.
The storyline had me interested because I absolutely love films involving people investigating a creepy legend, but it was the storyline that really held this film back. While the overall story is one that contained much potential, little of the potential was attained due to the sole fact that very little happens throughout this 70 minute piece. We get way too much development for such a short film, and it takes around 37 minutes for the first element of horror to kick in, and it is a measly one at that. From the on out the horror slowly builds and builds, but we are never given anything to scare us and are simply forced to watch our protagonists run and scream from an unseen force for the majority of the third act, which for all we know there is not even a killer – until the film’s harrowing climax. The climax really was the best that the film had to offer as it gave me a twist ending that I never saw coming, but it was far from enough to remove the stench left from what should have been a much better story. Oh, and there is a heavy REC presence/ripoff during the final sequence, so it was not THAT creative after all.
Writer Fernando Barreda Luna also serves as the film’s director, and he did little to right the wrongs provided by his screenplay. His atmosphere was great and he used highly engaging sets to deliver this film to us, but his lack of providing any scares whatsoever was what really held back his direction. What could have provided more scares was an abandonment of the POV-only style of filmmaking and the using of still cameras like those set up in Paranormal Activity. This would have allowed a better field of view for the viewer to see and potentially allow for Luna to provide better scare sequences, so long as his lame story allowed for it.
Overall, Atrocious is a film that had the breathing room to deliver a solid and fast-paced scarefest but instead failed to reach the potential the overall storyline provided. Instead we were given a story that delivers virtually nothing scary to the viewer, and direction that did little to aid the storyline that had the flick doomed from the start.