January 5, 2015 The Damned (Movie Review)
The Damned (also known as Gallows Hill), is the latest Horror movie to be released via IFC Films on August 29th, 2014 in theaters. Written by Richard D’Ovidio (Exit Wounds 2001, Thir13en Ghosts 2001), David Higgins (Big Momma’s House 2 2000, Hard Candy 2005), and directed by Victor Garcia (Hellboy 2004, Mirrors 2 2010), The Damned tells the story of David (Peter Facinelli: The Twilight series, The Scorpion King 2002) and Lauren (Sophia Myles: Underworld 2003, Transformers Age of Extinction 2014). Both photographic journalists, they finish spending a few days in Colombia before they leave to pick up David’s daughter Jill (Nathalia Ramos: Bratz 2007, House of Anubis 2012), and head back home to America for David and Lauren’s wedding. Jill is accompanied on her trip to the airport by her late mother’s sister, Aunt Gina (Carolina Guerra: Da Vinci’s Demons 2014, 5 2014), and her boyfriend Ramon (Sebastian Martinez: La Pola 2011, Alla Te Espero 2012). David takes over the driving from Gina and, shortly thereafter, they are stopped by a policeman, Captain Morales, who advises them there is flash flooding ahead and to turn around.
Gina convinces David to ignore the policeman’s pleas, that she knows the way and it will be safe. Sure enough, not long after they leave the policeman, the car is bombarded violently by flood waters which ends with the car upside down in the woods. The five luckily only suffer from minor injuries, and they make their way to a former hotel at the base of the mountains to get help and escape the rain. They are reluctantly allowed to enter by the owner, Felipe (Gustavo Angarita: Tiempo de morir 1985, The Day Silence Died 1998) , who advises them he has no telephone. Felipe and David go outside to obtain firewood, Jill and Ramon search for a bathroom, and Gina looks after Lauren, who appears to have broken ribs. While using the facilities, Jill hears the pleas of a small child and follows the sound to the cellar with Ramon by her side. They find a young unkempt girl locked in a dark room, and just as they are about to let her out, they are stopped by Felipe pointing a shotgun at them.
David, fearing for their lives, knocks Felipe out, ties him to a chair, and then releases the young girl named Ana Maria (Julieta Salazar), who appears to be the subject of child abuse. The group gather themselves together and determine a plan of action to get help. Despite Felipe’s desperate ranting, the group protect Ana Maria, which inadvertently leads to Felipe’s death. Not long after releasing Ana Maria, she is found dead, her throat slashed, with Gina beside her unconscious. David, Lauren, Gina, Jill, and Ramon have no idea what is going on, or who to trust. Strange events that began before Ana Maria’s death only escalate, and they each are faced with their deepest secrets and fears, which threaten to tear them apart. One by one, they are affected by a dark evil, and they must band together to fight it. When the policeman, Captain Morales (Juan Pablo Gamboa: Willy in La Usurpadora 1998, Vampires: Los Muertos 2002) unexpectedly shows up at the hotel, they are not sure if he is a friend or foe.
They are faced with a terrible problem; they cannot kill the evil, or the body it inhabits, or it will go into them. This leaves them with few options and they realize that they may have made a grave mistake letting Ana Maria go. David will have to face his past and hope that his daughter will still stay by his side, or they are doomed to suffer the same fate as the previous occupants. The Damned contains great special effects with an original and flawless storyline. The old hotel creates a creepy, dark atmosphere that highlights the tension and action in the film. There is plenty of blood and gore in all the right places to terrify and delight Horror and Action movie fans. Twists, turns, and a surprise ending make The Damned a must watch movie. While it is predominately in English, there are still large sections in Spanish, which requires subtitles for those which do not speak the language. CrypticRock gives The Damned 5 out of 5 stars.