Thursday, January 26, 2017

Reinforcing My Determination To Stay Out Of Psychiatric Hospitals

In retrospect, I'd have been better off going to bed than sitting up to watch Archivo 253, but last Friday was a day for bad decisions, I guess.

It's a bog-standard "found footage" horror film about these three guys who are ghost hunters who sneak into a former psychiatric hospital in Mexico City that had been closed for no stated reason 3 years earlier. For some reason, the leader, Diego, decides to bring his girlfriend, Isabella, along. I guess because she thought it sounded fun, but that of course just adds to the inevitable body count.

The movie opts to tell us right at the start that the four were never found, and the hospital was torn down within a year of their disappearance. Someone else, possibly one of their friends who stayed home and looked after Charly's dog, is going around doing interviews. I guess it was taken for granted we'd have already given the lot of them up for dead. Fair enough.

It's a bit muddled. There are spirits, but there's also someone or something still alive and running around in there. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be a demon, a corpse the spirits were possessing, or your standard person who's been trapped in a place and become some feral, psychotic killing thing. Diego seems antagonistic towards the spirits for reasons that aren't explained. One point when they detect some kind of energy, and stop to ask questions, he gets extremely aggressive with it. He asks it to light up more lights if it's an evil spirit, and it does. Then he asks it to show itself some other way, and just keeps repeating that question with increasing aggression. I don't know what the deal was with the cistern full of hair in the basement, or when they wake up in the room they were camping in and find hair all over the floor (and Diego missing again).

The movie keeps killing the characters off-screen. They vanish, someone runs around screaming in panic for awhile, all you see through the camera is a blurry wall or whatever, they find the person, blerp, the person's neck is broken and they're just hanging in mid-air. Oh, well, OK, scratch another one off. I kept waiting for something to happen, some big shock or scare, and the movie kept opting for nothing, or little things that did have much impact, but oddly, did work at reinforcing the notion they should get out. They don't of course. So by the time things did start to happen, I'd already checked out.

Maybe the most effective scene was at the very beginning, when the other person, whoever it is, was interviewing an old patient of the hospital, I think. A guy whose eyes didn't seem to track together, like they were looking at two different things. And out of the blue, he asks the interviewer if this is about 'those four'. We don't see any reply, but that was a little unnerving for how it came out of nowhere. Maybe he just read about the disappearances in the paper and drew the connection, but it created the impression he knew something somehow, because he was still connected to whatever was in the hospital ruins. But the rest of the film didn't live up to the unease that created, sadly.


SallyP said...

I don't really like horror movies anyway, but this sounds even more incoherent than usual.

CalvinPitt said...

I think they were trying for mysterious, but yeah, it ends up a muddle.