I sat myself down to watch Atrocious.
I’m not sure why I had expectations for this movie. Knew nothing about it and just happened to be watching TV and tinkering around with some photos when it came on.
I had already sat through a few hours of morning TV doldrums at that point and was hoping this was going to offer me something. I don’t know what I was hoping for. Laughter maybe. Suspense. A good, surprise ghoul jumping at me from the dark corner of the screen.
There are few movie joys for me like having a low-budget horror movie hit me just so.
This was not one of those joys.
The movie was conveniently titled “Atrocious”, but I failed to take the hint.
Granted, I wasn’t paying a ton of attention in the beginning. I was winding down the aforementioned photo-related work and only listening to the beginning of the film.
What I heard was some of the most wooden, horrible acting that I’ve ever heard. It stopped my work.
As if I was in my own horror film.
Slowly I turned….to face the TV, and I beheld a shaky first-person camera view. Normally this doesn’t bother me as much as it does some other folks. However, given the absolutely asstastic line deliveries that I had already heard, this oft-overused filming technique angered me further.
What I watched next put me quite over the edge. A barking dog on a night vision security camera installed for the purpose of catching spookies on film. I knew what movie fate awaited that dog and I didn’t like it. The gruesome dog-victim always feels like a lazy emotional ploy. No different here.
It’s tiresome. The only thing more guaranteed than a little sadness at the fate of these movie dogs is the inevitable anger that follows such a simple movie trope. The same welling anger that follows the sadness induced by the 1ooth viewing of horribly abused dogs while Sarah McLachlan’s soulful voice sings in the background.
I quickly realized that the movie is actually a Spanish film. A Spanish film with one of the worst dubbing jobs I have ever had the displeasure to hear. The result of some sort of evil plot, I am quite sure. There is no other conclusion to be drawn. Nobody would allow such atrocity otherwise.
The movie itself was just possibly OK. I have no idea. It wasn’t a new story, but it didn’t have to be. If it were done well.
I saw elements that would have made it work. The sound was good. The setting had the appropriate haunting feel. The ending worked and had a dash of murderous spooky that I liked.
The dubbing ruined it. Took the film and wrung out any joy that I may have experienced and replaced it with disdain.
Films, particularly in this genre, try to create a mood. The actors are part of that. There is much that a good actor can do with a crappy script simply by bringing emotion and appropriate tone to the lines. The delivery is important. It is a huge reason why I would rather watch a film in its native language and read the closed captioning if I don’t understand the language. Sadly, I had no such choice here.
An original, undubbed version gives everything you were meant to receive in terms of delivery and direction. The sound and manner of the delivery is beyond language.
The result of 75 minutes (7 minutes short of the original Spanish version) worth of stilted line readings is a steaming pile of atrociousnes.