Atrocious on DVD

Monday, 26 September 2011 00:00

“Atrocious” is a Spanish ‘discovered footage’ horror film, in the style of “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity”. It charts the misfortunes of the Quintanilla family, who visit their old farm house in Sitges. Intrepid teenagers Cristian (Cristian Valencia) and July (Clara Moraleda) investigate an ancient urban legend about a girl who got lost in the local woods and whose spirit now haunts them, for fair means or foul.

The brother and sister team ignore their parents' stern warning and take their video cameras into a decaying tree-lined maze next to the house to see what they can find. They are drawn to an open-air ornamental temple and a well, both of which have long-since fallen into disuse but stimulate Cristian's imagination. At first it seems like their search will come to naught, but then things rapidly take a turn for the worse; the family dog disappears and full-on chaos follows close behind.

Atrocious comes to DVDThe market for this 'home movie' kind of horror film is rapidly becoming saturated, and sadly “Atrocious” does very little to distinguish itself.

The main problem with the movie is that roughly half the running time features Cristian and July sitting or walking in, or running through the garden maze at various times of the day and night, or monitoring the slightly creepy, rusted gate entrance from a distance. There is very little dialogue during these scenes, and although debutant Mexican director Fernando Barreda Luna admittedly manages to establish a degree of tension and anticipation of impending doom, the overwhelming sensation is one of cheapness and a lack of ideas. This is frankly unforgivable in a film that only lasts a little over an hour.

In its favour, there are a few good shocks in the latter stages, and the ending does come as an unexpected and disturbing surprise. The acting is acceptable, and the hand-held camerawork by the cast is rarely shaky enough to induce queasiness.

The movie comes closest to succeeding when the combined efforts of the cast and sound effects crew work in concert to create a real sense of panic and fear. Muffled thumping and crashing noises emanating from various surround sound speakers triggered unease on my part on a few occasions.

In summary, there are certainly better and more well-known movies in the genre that should be sought out before this one, though if you have seen them all and are desperate for another fix, albeit of an inferior grade, then "Atrocious" might just about be worth a rental.

The DVD features a 14-minute making-of that gives some insight into the crafting of the film, not least the revelations that a lot of adlibbing was required of the actors, and that they were sometimes left in the dark about certain aspects of the plot to keep them on the back foot.

“Atrocious” (2010) is out now both in cinemas and on DVD, courtesy of Revolver Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 75 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and on DVD retails for £12.99, or less from

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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