Monday, September 1, 2008

Blame (2006; Narciso Ibáñez Serrador)

To be honest, when I heard about "Films to Keep You Awake", a Spanish TV series (supposedly) ripping off of The Masters of Horror, I was pretty excited. While never having actually watched a single episode from the semi-popular US series, something about the idea makes me, and many others, happy. So when I noticed the DVD release was so cheap (unlike the high priced American cousin) I knew that it had to be worth a shot.

Alright, so this very generous and very lesbian doctor opens up her large home to a friend in need (who has a daughter) in exchange for some help with her home clinic. The friend in need (dubbed for now on as "Tease") later finds that the clinic actually performs abortions (Oh! Ah! Controversy!) and feels that she should help the kind doctor (dubbed "Lez") to try and repay her for her help. Later on, Tease ends up pregnant and is stuck with the decision whether she should go through with the abortion or try and feed two children with her abysmal salary. Lez finally convinces her to abort, and the procedure has some very shocking consequences.

What kind of summary was that? With that sort of vague ending I feel I should be taking Ebert's place as a useless man who gets paid too much to talk about how much of an idiot he is.

Moving on...

What I feared would actually be a very weak film in the series of six turned out to be a very pleasent introduction for me. While suffering from a problem I notice in TV movies (I will explain later) it ends up correcting itself near the end as it actually starts to build an eerie atmosphere. Seriously. It does. I am not kidding.

Controversy over the subject of abortion really has begun to lend itself more and more to the horror genre as people slowly begin to realize that the idea of extracting soon-to-be children actually is grotesque. This, mixed with other controversy's can lead to some very powerful ideas that directors really need to play more with (see the movie "Dumplings" for a good example).

Now, I suppose I should address the little problem I feel seems to haunt TV horrors. Lighting. I don't know what it is, but when given the chance to shoot horror for TV, people grow attached to their lights. It seems they just refuse to shut them off at all during the movie, having some scenes in the middle of the night be as bright as scenes where the camera is making us stare right into the sun. As I pointed out earlier, however, "Blame" corrects itself as the movie progresses, eventually leading to it letting go of it's unhealthy relationship with it's lights. For anyone who might want to shove hundreds of examples of TV horror's that have good lighting, I just want to point out again that I haven't seen The Masters of Horror yet, so those don't count.

I suppose to make this more complete I should touch on some other things. The camera seems pretty basic, almost making you think that they were scared they might break a TV rule about using style. Also the score is decent, nothing too catchy, but it gets the job done and is in no way distracting from the rest of the film.

Score: 3/5

Notes: Private Places Are Used For Two Things; Birth and Sin

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