Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival Movie Review: TERROR 5

TERROR 5 opens with a man on a motorbike dressed as a member of KISS.  There's no explanation of who the guy is, or why he's cosplaying as Gene Simmons, but it's a perfect opening for one of the more unpredictable films I've seen for a good while. 

TERROR 5 is an anthology of sorts, all taking place on one night in Buenos Aires.  The five stories are intertwined with the anniversary of a tragic building collapse that resulted in 15 casualties. The city's governor is set to stand trial, and the press have turned out in droves.  During the memorial event, the victims come back from the dead looking for revenge, as resurrected ghouls always tend to do. 

The other stories seem unrelated at first, but converge as the film runs on: a group of friends come to conflict after watching a snuff film together, a pair of lovers visit a hotel where all is not what it seems, a man goes on a date with a girl who has something to hide, and two men planning to swap girlfriends get way more than they bargained for. 

As mentioned earlier, TERROR 5 is unpredictable.  This may be in part because it's supposedly based on Argentinian urban legends.  Of course, I'm not Argentinian, and these legends are unfamiliar to me.  In addition, the film seeks to make comment on Argentine politics which I'm also unfamiliar with.  There's definitely a sense that some of the intention may have been lost in translation, but it's not that big of a deal as most of the themes here are universal. 

What IS a big deal is that the film switches gears frequently and without much warning.  It flicks between stories in a somewhat confusing manner, and the end result seems a bit disjointed. When it becomes clear that all the pieces are part of one bigger puzzle, it feels like more focus should have been put on certain characters to heighten the impact of the reveals toward the end of the film.  One of the segments is all but forgotten in the end, and it makes you wonder why it was included to begin with. 

On the positive side, there are some great moments of visual creativity.  TERROR 5 looks impressive all around.  There's great use of colors, lighting, and shadow, which made me wish I was watching a better quality version of the film. The subtitle track was also a little lackluster, going out of sync occasionally and featuring some strange translations to English.  Of course this isn't the fault of the filmmakers. 

When all the plots come together, some of the earlier problems could be forgiven as its clear there's an attempt here to make something unconventional.  It's not the first film to utilize a similar intertwining plot structure, but I feel it's one that's not used enough.  I'd happily watch more films with a similar format, even though it didn't work as well for TERROR 5 as I would have liked. 

It's very short, clocking in at just over feature length, and could have used further development. Though, it's fun for what it is, and it's always great to see horror coming out of places like Argentina where creating art isn't exactly easy. 

Also, we never did find out why that guy was dressed as Gene Simmons. 

NonSequitur