(Chile 2013 80m) Cinemark Plaza Vespucio
p Francisca Cummins d Pablo Illanes w Josefina Fernández, Pablo Illanes ed Javier Estévez c Miguel Bunster s Eduardo Henríquez, Caroline Chaspoul
a Pedro Campos, Luciana Echeverría, Samuel González, Francisca Díaz, Ingrid Cruz, Berta Lasala, Daniel Alcaino, Eyal Meyer
This review was originally written for Twitchfilm. I also had some different thoughts in spanish for El Agente Cine, and you can read that here.
The search for the perfect zombie film made in Chile has been something that many filmmakers have tried and failed to different degrees.
While ‘Videoclub’ (2013) isn’t the exception — it’s a spectacular and grandiose way of plummeting to the ground due to wrong filmmaking — this might be the most decent effort so far, when it comes to creating a cohesive plot with a series of events that follow one another. In a sense, you could say that it’s watchable, but was it great? Nope. Good? Nope. Disappointing? Not really, since we don’t expect much in this day and age.
“Videoclub” was the name that Video Stores have in Chile. Just like in many parts of the world, they have recently receded, and because of that, you can’t really make a movie that takes place in one of those places and make it seem like it’s set in the modern day — although that would be interesting though, wouldn’t it? — so it takes place in 1992, a couple of years after Chile went back to democracy after 17 years of dictatorship. Now, does that have any bearing on the plot? Does it signify a metaphor for the zombies that suddenly appear? No, sadly.
Most of the elements in this movie go back to a fetishistic nature of the director towards certain concepts and cultural elements, like the video store, the zombies, and the new democracy in Chile. But they never connect with each other in any interesting fashion; they mostly just stay independent and serve as background to the other two elements. You could say that this is a zombie movie that happens to be set in 1992 and happens to be inside a Videoclub. Or you could say that this is a movie that has its main setting in a Videoclub, happens to be set in 1992, and then suddenly there are zombies.
It’s as if the director didn’t really care about the interest that some of these configurations could have to the viewer, beyond a couple of jokes. The fact that the protagonist is a failed filmmaker who makes shitty horror movies with his friend and sister, has absolutely nothing to do with the plot when the zombies appear. There are no references or advantages to the fact that he likes horror movies and kinda knows what’s happening. He must be one of the most clueless main characters in a zombie movie in years.
Though I must say that the film looks good, and the setting in a Videoclub — though, again, it really doesn’t add anything to the story itself besides … ‘hey, look some VHS covers’ and … that’s it — looks great. It’s a fantastic rendition of an era in which VHS was the king, and the BetaMax was just starting to disappear.
There’s one more thing that I have to say about this movie: maybe we aren’t ready to make a good zombie movie in Chile, because our actors aren’t capable of becoming fully realized zombies. They mimic what they’ve seen, but they don’t give it their own spin or feature. Mostly they stumble around doing nothing interesting, maybe setting some cars on fire, but these are maybe the least interesting zombies I’ve seen in a while, mostly because the actors didn’t care.
It’s a shame. I wanted to really like this, but I couldn’t be bothered with the constant cuts to another situation with no specific reason as to doing it, the less specific rules of the zombies, the way that the characters move around without doing much for themselves, as if they waited for someone to yell “Cut!” so they could know what to do next.
Let’s hope for better zombie movies to come out of Chile. We need a good one so other people can start taking our craft seriously out there.