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(aka "El Paramo" )

 

directed by Jaime Osorio Marquez
Colombia/Argentina/Spain 2011

 

A military unit on the lookout for guerilla factions while on a rescue mission after having lost contact with the unit stationed at the mountaintop Knife's Point base. Ineffectual Sanchez (Mauricio Navas) has orders for his team to secure the perimeter and wait for back-up, and the sadistic Sarge (Andrés Castañeda) uses physical force to quash down any talk of exploration and rescue; however, Arango (Andres Torres) is desperate to find his missing brother (who is stationed at Knife's Point) and disobeys orders and Parra (Mateo Stevel) is gravely injured by a landmine when he tries to stop him. Fearing that the guerillas will take advantage of the thick fog consuming the base to attack, they infiltrate the base and find it empty (save for a corpse or two and a lot of blood). Superstitious Fiquitiva - aka "Indio" - (Nelson Camayo) discovers a wall in a store room adorned with written spells to ward off evil. Behind the wall, they discover a feral woman (Daniela Catz) who Sarge believes is a guerilla informant. The woman will not speak (she only screams), and when Sarge tries to beat an interrogation out of her, he turns up dead the next day and the woman is missing. The team's medic Ramos (Juan David Restrepo, OUR LADY OF THE ASSASSINS) discovers the log book of the base's captain and learns that they captured the woman and tries to interrogate her without success. As the days passed, some of the men died and others became sick. They all started to believe that the woman was a witch and would kill all of them if they did not kill her first. After Fiquitiva discovers several bodies of soldiers in a ditch, paranoia starts to set in among the men about the true nature of their enemy. When Fiquitiva starts exhibiting plague-like symptoms and another man is accidentally killed, Cortez (Alejandro Aguilar) wrests command from Sanchez, but even he seems to be going off the deep end. Will the team end up destroying themselves before whatever lies in the fog can get to them?

Although blessed with a great location and fairly compelling for much of its running time, THE SQUAD feels more than a bit derivative of films like THE BUNKER, R-POINT (GHOSTS OF WAR), and THE GUARD POST. For the most part, the characters are extremely unlikable, and the "good" characters - including Cortez' sour-faced friend Ponce (Juan Pablo Barragan) - are too passive to be sympathetic; as such, much of the suspense comes from waiting to discover who will die next and how (although this isn't really a gore film). The mysterious nature of the malevolent force is kept ambiguous throughout, and the predictable ending will be a letdown because it is dependent on an overly familiar flashback revelation. American remake rights have already been TURISTAS producer Scott LaStaiti.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 7 October 2011 (Colombia)

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DVD Review: Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:43:36 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.34:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.26 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Momentum Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.34:1

Edition Details:
• Behind the Scenes (4:3; 20:02)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:46)
• Start-up trailers for WAR OF THE DEAD, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, and ACT OF VALOUR

DVD Release Date: 18 June 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

The progressive, anamorphic encoding of the feature only just edges the disc over to the second layer, but it seems to handle the film's foggy and dark environments as well as it can for SD. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is actually quite restrained for the most part, but that is refreshing for a horror film. Optional English subtitles are error-free. A behind-the-scenes segment and a trailer are the only extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

 




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