Directed by Fernando Barreda Luna, Atrocious, a Spanish horror film, is an “atrocious” movie that follows two teenagers as they attempt to solve an urban legend during their Easter Holiday. Instead of explaining this legend, though, Cristian (Cristian Valencia) and his sister, July (Claral Moraleda), uncover their own mother’s terrible past.

Let us begin with the characters: Cristian, the jerk; July, the annoyance; and Debora, the murderer. Cristian was a douchebag because he left July alone in the woods, and he seemed to be melded with his camera, never putting it down even to help his bleeding sister. July was bothersome; she gave me a headache from her constant screaming and whimpering. And, of course, we have Debora, or Elvira, the murdering mother.

While we are on the subject of Debora, or Elvira, it seems that after her third child’s, Michelle, birth, Debora went crazy, and killed her child. However, years passed, and Debora had another child, Jose, and supposedly loved her previous two children, Cristian and July. If she had such a “psychotic issue,” why didn’t she kill all her children earlier? And why did she need them to be at their summer home? Frankly, this whole “crazy mother” plotline needs revision.

Also, why did Atrocious decide to focus so heavily on an urban legend that would never be solved? The legend, which involves a girl, Melinda, from the 1940’s who was lost in the woods, is a much scarier plotline. Carlos, a family friend, discusses how no one should turn their back on Melinda, and how locals never forget her terrifying sound. That sounds a lot more chilling than the “psychotic mother.”

Ah, yes, the camera shots are definitely Paranormal Activity-esque; if you (for some odd reason) love found footage camera shots, Atrocious is the movie for you. Throughout most of the movie, I couldn’t even see what was supposed to be scary because the camera shots were so crappy.

And just look at what you have to view for most of the movie: shrubbery, rocks, and leaves. Hell, this movie should be called Botany because it’s literally minutes upon minutes of seeing various branches hitting the lens and looking into bushes. Even Cristian states, “There’s nothing to film but trees.”

Atrocious also overplays the “darkness” element. For instance, we constantly hear, “If you’re lost or alone at nightfall…” or, “This must be really spooky at night.” Yeah, we get it. Horrific things happen at nighttime; we don’t need the constant reminders jammed down our throat.

This movie also leaves various questions unanswered. Did Debora kill their Father? Is this why he never returned? If this movie is not based around a paranormal entity, then how did the cup mysteriously fall in the kitchen? Why is the well important? What is the importance of the urban legend? How did Jose become burned?

Overall, Atrocious is, actually, terrible. I mean, if you love shaky footage, terrible shots of branches, and a plot that doesn’t even make sense, by all means, watch it. But if you are looking for something that will actually terrify you, skip this film.

Rated R for grisly images and language throughout. 

To watch the trailer, click here


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