Los Inocentes (2013)

Rating: C

Dir: Carlos Alonso, Dídac Cervera, Marta Díaz de Lope, Laura García, Eugeni Guillem, Ander Iriarte, Gerard Martí, Marc Martínez, Ruben Montero, Arnau Pons, Marc Pujolar, Miguel Sanchez
Star: Charlotte Vega, Enric Auquer, Alex Batllori, Manuel Dueso
a.k.a. Bloody April Fools

Yep, you read that correctly: a feature film with a full dozen directors; the result of a project from the senior year class at a Barcelona film school. And to explain something else that might confuse you: despite the alternate title, it’s actually set in December, because the Hispanic version of April Fool’s Day is December 28, the Day of the Innocents, commemorating the day when Herod killed all the newborn children. The victims of such pranks are “Los Inocentes”, hence the original title, and this is straight of the slasher playbook, with the victim of a lethal prank pulled on that date at a youth hostel coming back a couple of decades later to stalk and slash a group of nine friends who spend the night in the now-abandoned hostel.

That’s your plot. So, probably a good job I had to explain all the other stuff above, because the storyline here would clearly not provide enough material to fill the paragraph. It barely has enough to fill the film, which runs a brisk 65 minutes, so at least it can’t be accused of over-staying its welcome. It can certainly be accused of being incredibly derivative, with hardly an original thought in its brief running-time. You do get the sense it’s trying to be as much a satire of the genre as a straight horror, but perhaps due to the many cooks in this particular kitchen, the end result is largely lacking in any particular flavour. The characters are mostly little more than shallow stereotypes, though this could be a deliberate spoof, though some of the deaths are kinda cool; the one which sticks in my mind is the one by bees, a particular sensitivity of mine.

Technically, it’s certainly solid enough, and you’d not know it was a film-school collaborative exercise – not least because it’s unashamedly commercial, which isn’t what I’ve seen from such projects in the past. On the other hand, you can argue that it’s a waste of the artistic freedom offered by the educational environment, to produce something which appears entirely safe and fails to take the slightest chance. The competence shown here is a good deal more forgettable.