THE LAST MATINEE is the passion project and brainchild of Maximiliano Contenti, who conceived/directed/produced and did the foley work for. Seriously, this guy is someone to watch out for just for all he gets done. The film stars Luciana Grasso (El Secreto de Julia), Ricardo Islas (El Que No Corre Vuela, Bailiwick), Julieta Spinelli, Bruno Salvatti, Franco Duran and Pedro Duarte.
The premise of this movie is utterly amazing — a group of strangers comes together on one rainy night to the local cinema to catch a B-horror movie. Little do they know, there is a serial killer among them. It’s up to the projectionist’s daughter to figure out the danger and to get them all to safety, or will this be the last matinee for them all?
There are many excellent and amazing things about THE LAST MATINEE but, on the other end, there were some concepts that fell flat. So, let’s first discuss the things it did completely right first.
The cinematography was out of this world. Seriously, watch out for DP Benjamin Silva because this was absolutely beautiful to behold. The shots were riveting and leaned into the nostalgia of the film, creating an homage to slasher movies of the past while creating its own voice.
And that is another fantastic point of this movie: the nostalgia. Set in the early ’90s, this is a huge love letter to slashers of the ’80s (honestly not sure why they didn’t just set it in the ’80s, but okay). It was a resonating hit of nostalgia, while it also maintained its own style, which so many other nostalgia-driven movies fail hard at.
And speaking of nostalgia done right — that soundtrack! My goodness, it hit the scenes just perfectly and I was very disappointed to see it’s remiss from Spotify. Boo, get on that, the soundtrack is amazing. It’s synthy goodness, in the vein of John Carpenter, while it also keeps its own voice and pace. Fantastic work by Hernán González.
Now, the things that needed to be worked on.
While the effects were very good, the action was muddled and stiff. The stunts and confrontation with the killer were visually awkward and just not compelling. That’s only expounded by the fact that we never feel any connection to the killer, or the killer to our protagonist, which is vital for any kind of rewarding conclusion.
Our killer never actualizes, say the way that Mrs. Voorhees or Michael Myers does. We never get a clear picture of who they are, which detracts from the tension between the victims and our protagonist (Luciana Grasso). There isn’t much suspense because while the stakes are high, there’s no development or natural progression between them.
It’s the same with the survivors. There’s great build-up, but maybe even too much build-up, and not enough of act two to bring them closer together. They needed more connection between the two of them in order to resonate with us and to create higher stakes. Instead of strangers, by Act Two, they should have shared a moment to humanize them with each other. Unfortunately, that never really presented itself.
The only other part is that it’s a spoiler but I think that you should be warned: children (pre-teens and teens) die pretty graphically. THE LAST MATINEE pulls no punches and the deaths, while interesting, are brutal. If you’re not up for that, you may wanna skip this one.
But, at the end of the day, THE LAST MATINEE is a wonderful and engaging film. While it stumbled in a few parts, the sum was incredibly entertaining and definitely worth the watch, especially if you love ’80s slasher films.
THE LAST MATINEE is now available On-Demand, Digital, and DVD.