Friday, August 14, 2009

Los Cronocrímenes

Not too long ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Horror Etc, and one of the hosts, Kingstown Ted, went over a movie he had just seen called Los cronocrímenes—or, the English name for it, Timecrimes. I was intrigued by how much he liked the movie and even further fascinated by the story. Right away, I went online to my Netflix account, looked up the movie and placed it in my movie queue.

Reading about the movie and plot on, I had taken note that none of the names of the cast were ones I had ever heard of. Even the name of the director wasn’t familiar to me. What clicked was that the movie was categorized as a foreign film and after reading more into it, I discovered it was a Spanish movie.

In the past, I’ve turned my back on foreign films and always hated having to read subtitles. But not too long ago a film class I took in college really taught me to embrace some of these foreign films and that’s what I’m trying to do more and more. Because if anything foreign films have taught me is that these movies are quickly surpassing the movies that are being made in Hollywood. Let’s face it, all American films, as of late, are nothing but rehashed remakes with no new ideas whatsoever.

Los cronocrímenes is a perfect example of original story telling.

I went into it, thinking it was a horror movie, because when you look at the DVD artwork, it seems that it will be. The picture on the cover shows a masked character carrying a pair of scissors and he looks very creepy. So I was encouraged to watch this just by looking at that.

It opens with Héctor coming home to his wife, Clara, at their vacation house that they’re working on remodeling. Clara is working on her garden so Héctor goes upstairs for a nap. He doesn’t get to sleep because he receives a mysterious phone call with a little breathing on the phone, then hanging up. He calls it back with *69 or whatever they use in Spain to do that, but only reaches an answering machine.

A little while later, Héctor notices something in the distant field and goes to retrieve a pair of binoculars. He uses them to look out there and sees something red in a bush or something. Héctor becomes interested and goes downstairs to his yard and positions a lawn chair to sit and study the area further. He then notices a young woman looking mysterious with her face hidden by her hair. She slowly takes her shirt off, revealing her breasts and just stands there. Héctor’s wife interrupts him and he lowers his binoculars as she mentions she’s going into town for a while. He gives the keys to the car and she leaves. When he returns his sights to the area the girl was, she’s nowhere to be found.

Héctor decides to walk over to the area to have a look around, walking a hundred yards or so away from his house and into the field to where he saw the girl. He makes it to the clearing that she was at and finds her clothes. Stepping further in, he sees her body lying against a rock, seemingly dead or unconscious—he doesn’t know which. Apprehensively, he approaches her and sees that she is, in fact, breathing. Suddenly, we see an arm raise that is holding a pair of scissors, and it lashes down, stabbing Héctor in the arm. Startled and confused, he runs away and the chase begins.

From then on, we go on a great mind-fuck of a ride with Héctor and the confusing dilemmas he faces. It seems to start off as a horror movie, and then suddenly we’re thrown into a science fiction type of story. Explanations are unraveled that are evident at first, then confusing, then straight right back to the obvious...but keeps you watching all the way through.

I have to say that this story was very intelligently written and is one of the best foreign films I’ve seen in the sci-fi/horror genre. It used to be that America had the best movies, but that time has come to an end. If Hollywood keeps on shitting out these remakes like they’ve been doing for the last few years, American film is going to end up digging their own celluloid grave by the end of the decade. It’s a little novel to see what these remakes will look like, but all-in-all, the American audience wants to see something original in these popular genres.

So what is my final “bit” on Los cronocrímenes?

Captivating from start to finish with pretty good acting, yet it was a simple story that didn’t need much in the special effects department. A few nice set pieces were all it took to make the science fiction portions believable and the great story just nailed it as an enthralling movie. I can’t say enough about this film…it was a nice treat for me to see something original that didn’t have teeny-boppers gum up the dialogue with the latest lingo and popular styles. It was a straight to the point movie.

You need to see it!