August 17, 2011

Quick Review: Atrocious (2011)

"The events in this movie really happened. It says so right in the movie."
*In Limited Release now, via AMC Theaters.

With any Found Footage movie, you need to be able to buy into the concept and the set-up for it to be effective. If you can't accept what you're seeing on the screen as real -as in "it truly happened"- then all is lost.

Atrocious does a pretty good job at keeping things real for the most part, though it does get a bit mired down in the trappings of its own sub-genre. Much of the movie is spent with characters walking and filming, running and filming, and doing everyday life things which adds to the realism of it all, but does wear thin after a while.

Most girls her age have cameras just like that.
Atrocious is the story of the Quintanilla family, who was found murdered in their creepy old vacation house in Stiges, Spain. The family's two oldest kids, Christian and July, just had to poke their nose into the old legend of the Girl in the Garraf Woods; both of them running around through a massive and creepy forest maze looking for proof of her existence.

Here's some proof.
It's not long before strange and eerie things begin to happen to them, both in the woods and out: they find strange altars, a foreboding pavilion, and even an old "you know you're screwed now" wishing/drinking well, all of which screams "you're about to die painfully!" to me. Add to that odd noises and goings-on around the house at night, and by the time the dog disappears, you just know they're all screwed.

Aww, un perro! (He dead)
The problem here is that everything seems all too familiar, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but seeing as there are so many Hand Held/Found Footage flicks out there now, they need to start standing out a bit more.

Think about it like this; after the original Halloween and Friday the 13th, Slasher flicks started popping up right and left in the early 80's. Some were good, some were alight, but looking back with an honest eye, a lot of them sucked. They retreaded the same territory over and over again until they became almost a parody of themselves. People eventually grew tired of it all, which is why by the end of the 80's, the Horror genre was pretty much DOA, and didn't get much life back until Scream came along in 1996.

Atrocious is kinda like those mediocre slashers of old; it delivers what it's supposed to, but we've seen it before and done far better, so in the end it all feels kinda blah. That's not to say that there aren't some great moments in the movie, because there are. Some of it is genuinely creepy and even unsettling, but like most Found Footage flicks, most of its running time is spent on set up to give us that "It's soooo real" feeling.

There's some blood in this.
The twist at the end was interesting enough, though it changed the movie for us in retrospect, and gave everything a different feel. For us, Found Footage movies work when they show us glimpses of the unknown, highlighting supernatural and unknown horrors that lurk about out there somewhere, whether in a forest or an old home. They're a warning.

Here, when we actually get an explanation as to what's going on, it somehow becomes a bit less creepy. 

Yeah, that's about right.
Good enough for what it is, Atrocious is middle-of-the-road entertainment for the most part. It gets some things right, really right, but overall it's bringing nothing new to the Found Footage genre. If you haven't seen many movies like this, or just can't get enough of this sub-genre's offerings, you will most likely have a good time with Atrocious.

For those of us who have seen too much of this kind of thing, and are a tad jaded about our movies, it will only inspire strong feelings of "meh."


So Yellowbrickroad sucked, Rammbock was good, and Atrocious was alright... Cold Fish had better be good, or Bloody Disgusting and whatever the hell "The Collective" is, have pretty much dropped the ball with their "select" partnership with AMC Theaters.

The overall results so far have not been much better than the average AD Horrorfest year, or even the Fangoria's Frightfest... and that's not a good thing.


  1. It's a little bit of a guilty pleasure but I am fascinated by this genre of film. I think 'The Tunnel' is probably the benchmark with which to judge them. That too didn't do anything new but everything it did do was solid and felt natural.

  2. It's a pretty good sub-genre, Marky, an yeah The Tunnel is a really good example of it.

    I don't think it needs to be a guilty pleasure, but I can see why you say that. "Real" is always a good thing, as long as care is taken and it works, you know?

  3. Have you guys had a chance to watch Medium raw yet?I'd like to know what you think of it,and I know one thing you'll probably mention about but I won't spoil it for you

  4. Have not seen Medium Raw yet, but it's on the agenda.

    Don't spoil it!

  5. I was trying to figure out if this movie is based on a true story . It seemed real.