THE DAMNED, screenwriter Richard D'Ovidio and director Victor Garcia have stolen from some genre greats -- The Hidden, for one -- and come up with a surprisingly deft film that begins as a kind of atmospheric creep-fest that, once the various levers are in place, snaps shut into a suspenseful time-is-of-the-essence thriller.
Alejandro Moreno, certainly know how to set us up: a creepy prologue, then a nightmare and an unsettling family situation, missing passport and flash flood -- all leading finally to that decaying hotel/mansion, a frightened old man and a captive child. The early camerawork, hand-held but not unduly jiggly, plus the color, composition and lighting, ensure that we're quickly in thrall to the super-eerie atmosphere.
Peter Facinelli (two photos up and below, right) plays Dad, while Sophia Myles (above, and below, center) essays his upcoming bride, while Nathalia Ramos (shown at bottom) plays the generally angry daughter.
Carolina Guerra as the sister-in-law -- are unusually attractive. Look for a staple of Mexican/Colombian telenovelas, Juan Pablo Gamboa, as the local cop who gets involved with our crew.
From IFC Midnight, The Damned, running a sleek 88 minutes, will be available this coming Friday, July 25, via VOD, and will open in a limited release in theaters on August 29.