(director/writer: Carlota Pereda; cinematographer: Rita Noriega; editor: David Pelegrín; music: Rita Noriega; cast: Pilar Castro (Elena), Camille Aguilar (Roci), Claudia Salas (Maca), Laura Galán (Sara), Irene Ferreiro (Claudia), Richard Holmes (Stranger), Stéphanie Magnin Vella (Rosa), Chema del Barco (Juan Carlos), Carmen Macchi (Madre), José Pastor (Pedro), Julián Valcárcel (Padre), Fernando Delgado-Hierro (Juancarlitos); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Merry Colomer, David Atlan-Jackson: Morena Films; 2022-Spain-in Spanish with English subtitles)
“An enjoyable revenge horror pic.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Spanish writer-director Carlota Pereda (“The Devil’s Tale”) films an enjoyable revenge horror pic. It’s based on Pereda’s same named Goya Award-winning short film released in 2018.
In her small village in Spain the obese 13-year-old Sara (Laura Galán, who plays a youth even though she’s in her mid 30s, & delivers a powerful performance) is bullied by classmates. After helping her genial butcher dad (Julián Valcárcel) at work, in the family business, where she lives with her protective but unsympathetic mother (Carmen Macchi ), whose advice is to eat less, and her little brother (Chema del Barco). When after work she goes to the town pool to cool off on the hot summer day, three local girls– Maca (Claudia Salas), Roci (Camille Aguilar) and Claudia (Irene Ferreiro) — who mock her and her family regularly in person and on social media, call her piggy and steal her backpack and shoes. After her quick swim, Sara is forced to walk home in her bikini. But she witnesses a stranger (Richard Holmes) kidnapping in his van the three girls who harassed her. The creepy stranger already killed a lifeguard, and his newest vics are in big trouble. The only person who can possibly help them is someone they made miserable for no reason. The stranger seems to be reacting to the bullying by helping Sara, even giving her a towel from one of the girls so she can coverup.
The poor girl is left conflicted about helping or not helping her nasty enemies. We’re left wondering if the bullied vic will leave the trio to their own fate or get help for them.
The bullies were so cruel that my knee-jerk reaction is not to help, until I came to my senses and reevaluated things. That speaks volumes on how well the filmmaker and DP Rita Noriega carried off the bullying scene.
Played at the Midnight section at Sundance.
REVIEWED ON 2/21/2022 GRADE: B