25 April 2011

Clarky's Review: To Let

We seem to be going in cycles this season. We had two weeks in the row of D'Argento films a few weeks ago, and this week we had our second film with a pregnant protagonist in two weeks. Whether this says something about how much horror we have watched over the past couple of years that we are now delving into such extremes is for you to judge.

Fin and I first came across To Let earlier this year at a cult film class run by Edinburgh Council. We had decided to attend in order to widen our horizons and hopefully to uncover some unknown gems for future horror club outings. So it was wide eyed excitement that we sat down one evening to watch the first feature by Jaume Balaguero, one of the masterminds behind Rec - one of our collective favourites at HC in the 2009/10 season. This seemed to be exactly what we were looking for and so I was eagerly looking forward to Fin bringing this movie to the table.

First things first, there are a lot of down right stupid moves by some of the people involved in this movie. And whilst this was frustrating it also made the movie more enjoyable. For the first time in a while I was properly shouting at the characters on screen. As a seasoned horror veteran I knew that the creepy letting agent wouldn't give up just because she lost her hand and the fact that the main characters were so oblivious to this enraged me as a critic.
But as a horror fan, it took me back to when you first started watching horror and you couldn't help but talk to the TV screen as the decision making of the protaganists became more and more obtuse and incredulous. Although at one time being cliched in the Scream aftermath of post modernism it felt like a breath of fresh air to sit down and watch some idiots run about an apartment block and get themselves into more trouble - SPOILER - quite why Mario frees the chained up mentalist after he has tried to attack his girlfriend is beyond me.

Beyond this my only gripes were the double flashback at the beginning that seemed pointless and confusing and the fact that I think a couple of the scares could have been timed and scored better to have a bigger impact - particularly in the shower (however, the build up was excellent). But these are small gripes when looking at the film as a whole. It may not be a terrifying edge of your seat horror, but there are enough creepy moments and characters to warrant giving this a shot.

It is also clear to see the origins of Rec from this film, and for that alone it is worth a watch (Its fair to say that I will never be staying in a Spanish apartment block - the list of things I can do is getting smaller every week). A creepy, effective little thriller, with a sound horror premise that is much bigger and better than its made for TV appearances.

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