Cold Sweat (2010) - Continuing on the switch to the movies of Adrian Garcia Bogliano I get to "Cold Sweat" a story of a couple radicals of right wing anarchy who years after they have past their prime carry on a sick and twisted vision of creating utopia through torture. Bogliano like in "Rooms for Tourists" uses a house as the tight claustrophobic setting for the fear to come. The opening of the film give us a bit of a history lesson in Argentinian politics. Scenes and images of right and left wing protest flash across the screen telling the story of 25 cases of stolen dynamite and the torture and abuse rendered by sides to try to find it. The right had the Triple A, an anticommunist death squad that operated under President Isabel Peron in the mid 1970's. It is an origin story for a couple of the characters in the film but when viewing it you really don't know that yet. The intro although useful to understanding the motivations of the bad guys in this film is secondary as they are the only ones affected by that story. It is like showing scenes of pacific fighting during WWII just before you tell a story about a Japanese soldier who is still fighting the war 50 years later. This story is very similar, the two old men who are the antagonists of the story are still fighting the Communist in a society that has already moved on.
The modern day story of these two men is introduced by two other characters Ramon (Facundo Espinosa) and Ali (Marina Glezer) who are working together to find Ramon's ex-girlfriend Jackie (Camila Velasco) who went missing after hooking up with a blonde guy on the internet. Ali and Ramon are outside the house of the old men and little do they know the house of horrors awaiting them inside the house. They think this blonde guy is a person who Jackie is fooling around with and Ramon is obsessed with catching them. He has looked through her email and chats and he and Ali have tracked him to this house. Ali goes in as another flirty girl to meet the blonde guy and hopefully have a look around. When after entering the house a white haired old guy (Omar Gioiosa) sneaks up behind her and knocks her out you known something is horribly amiss.
What this leads to is a story of a couple old agents still fighting the war against communism in a very unique way. They could be said to just be crazy at this point and not really in touch with the reality of the world but even so they are committed to their cause. Can you call killing young people a cause? We enter their world with victim number one (Noelia Vergini) harnessed up hanging in a room. Walker using old guy (Omar Musa) puts a drop of acid down where the young woman's head can be moved. She is terrified, we don't know it yet but he has put nitroglycerine on the girl's head and if it comes in contact with the acid it will cause it to explode. The scene is a very good and gory example of setting the stage. Ali also captive in the room knows the stakes after watching the demise of the first victim and when a drop of nitro is put on her forehead she is clear of the implications. I have never seen this as a murder method and liked the original (at least for me) way of execution.
Unfortunately what follows can only be termed a horrible mess of poor decisions by the protagonists of the film. When Ali does not come out of the house he looks to go in through a back window to find her. He is clumsy and not really brave but manages to get to her in the maze of an apartment. I am always frustrated with the idea that tech savvy people can't seem to make a simple phone call to the police instead of putting themselves in jeopardy. I am not saying that the film making is bad, I just hate the horror trope of people going in to the horror situation on their own without first calling for help. The actual sneaking around the house are pretty tense and suspenseful scenes, especially when Ramon ends up behind a two way mirror where he witnesses the first on screen killing. Ramon does just that setting up a film where he and Ali sneak around but can't seem to find a way to leave. Ali after being freed by Ramon wanders about never finding a way out. Ramon still seeking the Jackie decides to stay around until he finds her. Shit if he had called the police in the beginning all of this would have been resolved in an hour, the old men arrested and everyone that could be save would have been. Instead we get a fairly enjoyably tense game of cat and mouse based on these horrible decisions.
Baxter the white haired old man is still fit enough to be a physical threat but the walker guy is not and Ramon could have over powered him anytime but instead just sneaks around avoiding contact. When he finds Jackie covered in nitro and scared he has to problem solve getting her out without blowing her up. The film like I said is somewhat unique and entertaining. As we move into the third act the old men discover the young people and we get a final gory showdown that is worth the look. There is also some (unintentional?) humor when the nitro covered Jackie is dragging herself across the floor trying not to drip the explosive off her skin and is being pursued ever so slowly by the walker guy. He has a syringe of acid and is trying to blow her up by squirting it at the nitro on her body. It is the slowest chase scene in the history of film but even still well done on a movie making level.
So I will recommend this film it has some cool ideas and is original enough to keep you interested. Having to overlook the stupid behavior of a couple of the characters is challenging but still I think the tension created by the director out weighs those flaws. So far in this new Bogliano themed week I am pretty please. There is a lot of originality, a definite skill for creating tension and what seems a love for making horror movies. I look forward to the next choice for this this director Penumbra. So enjoy.