After ‘You Are Not Alone’, shot in Smalltown USA, Sharp Teeth films branches off overseas.. This Spanish exorcism features the heroes fighting a ‘malevolent infestation of an unholy epidemic of the undead’. Their apocalyptic nightmare is beautifully shot across desolate landscapes. Director Marc Carrete, known for corporate and commercial work, shot his flick in Barcelona in 2013.
The movie opens with a graphic birth scene and jumps 15 years ahead to Grandfather Eloy Palma (Lluis Marco) and his granddaughter Alba (Claudia Pons) travelling across a deserted sun bleached Spanish landscape, in a rusty old caravan, as the grandfather trains Alba to take over his role.
Our two travelling exorcists walk through dried out swimming pools, artistic graffiti, broken wind machines, abandoned cemeteries, and sundried roads all shot in splendid sepia desolation, in all brown and dull gold. (Strangely, all the dust never seems to get on Eloy’s immaculate white shirt, despite the scuffles with undead). Darker scenes, such as deserted underground tunnels, ruined moonlit mansions, or midnight cemeteries, are shot with lurid blue and black beauty.
Meanwhile, at an asylum, the inmates are clearly possessed, as they attack the nurses in shades of Poe’s ‘The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether’. There’s a beautifully-shot cameo scene of the possessed resident in the bath being restrained by the nurses, insisting feverishly that something ‘visits [her] at night’. Her chalky white make up, against her black hair, echoes her white nightdress and the staff’s starched white uniforms. Things get steadily more out of control in the asylum, while our exorcists travel onwards, but where are the healers?
They finally reach the hospital after a philosophical (and plot-lengthening) discourse around their campfire at night, and see what’s left of the staff.
The movie’s present is interspersed with video footage of a previous exorcism, with frequent flashbacks to their previous days in a sect, who are now perusing the demon-dispersing duo. This exorcism-road movie made good use of limited budget, but was strangely uninvolving, with this reviewer unable to feel any real interest in the heroes’ fates.
Special features include a storyboard of the main movie and behind the scenes, as well as the director’s short ‘Castidermia’. This revolves around the revenge of a taxidermy-obsessed loner who starts off murdering cats and then works his way up to a Christine-style car death. The kidnapped survivor awakes in his primitive lab to discover under his scalpel she has sprouted beautiful yet disturbing butterfly wings. Her friends are likewise gruesomely transformed into trophy style heads on the wall, in a ‘Chainsaw Massacre’ style gorefest.
Carrete’s second short ‘Feeling Rough’ features a nature enthusiast who films himself in the woods sampling the natural foodstuffs. This don’t-go-into-the-woods-today horror tale fuses body horror and Blair Witch with a Cronenbergian enthusiasm. Both are more involving and energetic than ‘Asmodexia’, which although beautifully shot, has none of the urgency or anxiety a good horror needs.
Beautiful but non-terrifying, this apocalyptic nightmare is more of a bedtime story
Nina Romain is living proof that small children shouldn’t be taken trick-or-treating in Alabama in the 1980s – they tend to end up obsessed with the creepier side of Halloween! Her horror shorts tend to be shot half in the seedier side of Los Angeles and half in the darker side of the UK. She’s spending this Halloween dressed as a creepy clown at various London horror events and planning to eat her own weight in festive treats. You can find her on www.girlfright.com and IMDB.