There’s something just off enough about this film that I can’t give it my full support.
I’m not sure if I wish that it was a fully Spanish language release, if it’s the balance of the cast, or if it’s something else entirely, but there is something just off enough that I can’t love this movie.
However, I will say this: The Damned (originally set to be released under the title Gallows Hill) would probably be the perfect gateway film into the world of South American horror. It carries the look and feel of that region-which I really, really love, I would rather watch a thousand terrible movies from the area than one mediocre American piece, but it lacks a lot of the subtlety and bite that I love from that subgenre.
Thematically, the plot is pretty old school with just enough twists to make the film not really drag. Other than the first quarter. The first quarter had me wincing-including the now frankly over used opening credits style. It’s like we have to be shown what subgenre the film sits in with pretty pictures (as much as I love the opening to American Horror Story this season, I think the fact that it shows up there tells you just how much of a trope this has become). I was also a little concerned that this was going to turn into pretty people horror-look at all the horrible things going on to such nice looking people.
However, the handling of a fairly common plot is actually dark enough not to become repetitive and even the scares are fairly original. Again, though, only to a point however, but the last three quarters of the film make up for a lackluster start. I’m not sure how much subtext to pull out of this one though-we all do terrible things? Those things will haunt us? Stop shoving yourself into other people’s secrets? Don’t blunder blindly into other people’s boxes? Listen to people when they tell not to take the flooded road? I’ve said this before though, that I’m not sure that every movie has to have deep themes and this just may be one of them. At least this one doesn’t feel like it’s play acting at a depth it’ll never actually have.