October 8, 2011

Filthy Review - Atrocious

Atrocious (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

As a fan of genre cinema it all amuses me how time puts a different perspective on how films are viewed. At the time of writing this there is an almost constant bemoaning of the amount of first-person, or found footage, style of movie that are doing the rounds right now. This style which was brought out into the public consciousness with The Balir Witch Project, and more recently with Paranormal Activity, isn’t particularly new but it is very popular with filmmakers right now. Let’s go back in time though. In the 60s’ there was a new gothic vampire flick every 5 minutes, the 70s gave us an influx of Giallo and 80s we were bombarded with Slasher movies. Not all these movies were great, in fact some were downright terrible, yet more often than not they are looked back at with rose-tinted glasses. The genre goes through phases, and right now the found footage style is popular.

Is it all that new though? For years we saw the action in first person through the eyes of the killer, I mean who can forget the lengthy opening to Halloween? It put us, the viewer, right at the bloody heart of the action. Now we get the flipside, we are put into the action from the perspective of the potential victims, admittedly for the entire movie. Is it so different though?

This all brings us, in a lengthy and roundabout way, to the latest found footage movie to grace my screen. The movie in question is the Spanish flick Atrocious, which aside from not having the most enticing name ever, aims to put another spin on the genre. The film is shot from the viewpoint of brother and sister, Cristian and July, who like nothing more than to investigate urban legends and make home movies about them.

The film we see is cut from 37 hours of film the police discovered after Cristian and July, along with their parents, brother Jose and family dog, vacation in a family house near Sitges in Spain. The isolated house and surrounding area has tales of its own urban legend featuring a girl named Melinda, so of course Cristian wants to investigate this story.

Atrocious is most definitely a game of two halves, with the first half consisting of us getting to know the cast and not too much happening, as is often the case. Once the film passes the 40 minute mark (it’s only a 73 minute movie) the action cranks up to an almost frenetic pace though. Writer/Director Fernando Barreda Luna ensures that it doesn’t let up until the end.

I was actually quite surprised by how effective Atrocious was, it does get quite scary in the later stages with the feeling of not knowing what is going to happen working wonderfully. The film isn’t especially gory, yet they are still some fairly uncomfortable scenes to sit through that some might find quite shocking.

If I had any real complaints it would be that some of the scenes were quite dark, making it hard to see what was going on. It’s not until later on in the movie that they decide to employ their night-vision camera. That being said though Atrocious is a more than worthy addition to this sub-genre. If you don’t like this style of movie it probably won’t sway you in its favor, however, if you appreciate the slow-burn in your face action I can see you really enjoying it, as I did.

Atrocious is a film for the patient viewer and is one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Atrocious is available on DVD through The Collective on October 25th

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering about this one and if i should give it ago, always been a huge fan of Blair Witch and this type of films all they way back to the original The Last Broadcast. So I think I will give this go, looks interesting.