April 1, 2019 Terror 5 (Movie Review)
The world’s current and seemingly growing state of political and social unrest makes for quite the platform on which this film has made its own meaningful, mimetic stand against authority, power, and the egregious abuses of such. Much in the same way that Shock Horror films like Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1975 movie Salό and Srdjan Spasojevic’s 2010 movie A Serbian Film have exploited sex as a medium to controversially convey an underlying, more doctrinally pensive meaning, so has this newest addition to the genre, Terror 5.
Though greatly more dialed back and not nearly as abhorrent or graphic as those previously mentioned, Terror 5 is the Argentinian Horror Anthology set to be released on DVD April 2nd via Artsploitation Films. It was written by Sebastian Rotstein with the help of Nicolas Gueilburt (El bonaerense 2002, The Vampire Spider 2012), and directed by both Rotstein and his brother Federico, who previously worked together in 2013 on Rabbit 105 and Historia Breves 8.
In addition to those who made this film happen, credit must also be given to the cast which was featured in each strange and stimulating sequence. It starred Lu Grasso and Augusto Alvarez making their acting debuts, Cecilia Cartasegna (Clementina 2017, All Night Long 2015), Julian Larquier (La flor 2018, La Flor: Tercera Parte 2018), Gaston Cocchiarale (The Clan 2015, I Am Toxic 2018), Walter Cornas (Plaga Zombie 1997, Filmatron 2007), Agustin Ritano (Historia breves 12 2016, Packing Heavy 2018), Juan Barberini (The Fire 2015, Rompiente 2018), Rafael Ferro (Ciega a citas 2009, Lalola 2007), and Jorge Prad (La flor 2018, Ashes of Paradise 1997).
Terror 5 had extremely curious, attention-grabbing story-lines that sometimes entangled and bled together to the point to where it made it a little difficult to distinguish between stories. The plot centered on progressively peculiar events that occurred one strange night in a small Argentinian town which had erupted in complete and total turmoil. Perversions within political and academic arenas, greed, hate, and lust result in an unforgettable night of snuff films, dangerous date-swapping, igniting the inferior, unleashing the unstable, punishing the powerful, and justifying pragmatic justice.
With that being said, and even more being left to the imagination, it should be noted that on the surface, there were some elements of this movie which paled in actual comparison to the overall understanding ultimately gained by viewers once its meaning was revealed [or realized] beneath its depths. One viewing is just not enough to experience and really be able to appreciate all this film has to offer. The performances were enjoyable for the most part, as the actors and actresses effectively played the roles they were tasked with; with the exception of the small shreds of cheese being shed here and there.
There always seemed to be this recurring theme of duality that played throughout; good vs evil, justice vs injustice, teacher vs pupil, love vs hate, powerful vs powerless, dead vs living, abused vs abuser, etc. There was also this consistent but subtly subversive undertone that made viewers constantly question who the monsters were, who the victims were, and who the heroes were; which was mostly made apparent in the symbology of the lighting and certain other color and element choices made throughout.
Speaking of colors, blue, red, and green were very prominent hues found within this movie. As it just so happens, blue is a color on the Argentinian flag which is meant to represent vigilance, truth, loyalty, perseverance, and justice. Meanwhile, red can almost always be reflective of power, hate, warning, passion, lust, violence, and war; and green, though not as frequently observed, could be interpreted as jealousy, greed, and of course, wealth.
The sharp cinematography and use of chiaroscuro created components of a Film Noir that gave it an extra little added dash of dramatic flair without ever making it feel too over the top. Even the dialogue – which expressed abuses of power and the need for balance in an almost poetic manner at times – was able to be translated over a variety of circumstances and situations; and thus, making it that much more relatable in perspective and substance to viewers.
The gore and special effects were handled well in most sequences, neither becoming excessive nor ever really lacking; though at the end, there were moments when it felt like there could have been just a little bit more effort afforded in that sense. There was also a specific segment that may have been lost in translation on viewers, because even after a couple of viewings there was still so many more questions left than answers to how it all fit together.
The only other really disappointing aspect of this movie was something that is to be expected with any foreign, subbed film, and that is the fact that language barriers made it difficult for viewers to gather the full scope or picture of what may have been happening. This was especially because they could have potentially missed out on nuances or context hidden in the written word/cultural references and/or surroundings which were not translated. Slang and lingo must also be considered, and how accurately they are able to be translated.
Terror 5 is a movie that will turn viewers on and probably trip them out once they realize the almost certainly ominous object of their salacious contemplations; which is why Cryptic Rock gives this film 3 out of 5 stars.