The Nameless (1999)

Rating: D+

Dir: Jaume Balaguero
Star: Emma Vilarasau, Karra Elejalde, Tristan Ulloa, Pep Tosar
a.k.a. Los sin nombre

As unsatisfying as 85 minutes of foreplay with no orgasm at the end, Balaguero shows a fine eye for creating atmosphere, but shows much less adeptness for handling story elements, particularly in a horrible finale that feels like they ran out of money, film or ideas. The body of a woman’s abducted daughter is found, but five years later, she (Vilarasau) starts getting phonecalls from the child. With the help of the former cop (Elejalde) who handled the case and a reporter, they uncover a particularly unpleasant cult, whose head received an 80-year jail term, but may still be running things from a mental ward. The clues point to an abandoned hotel where…

…well, everything falls apart, to be honest. Everything turns out to be part of a pointlessly convoluted plan; the last couple of twists are almost entirely unaffecting, since they both involve characters whom we’ve rarely, if ever, seen before. [We still guessed one, twenty minutes in] I trust that Ramsey Campbell’s original novel was put together better, though there’s no denying the director’s eye for disturbing visuals. Even if it feels like David Fincher’s clone is directing, the mix of imagery creates a disturbing atmosphere which the payoff entirely fails to match. Balaguero should be sentenced to do music videos, and only allowed back into features when he understands the importance of a solid story-line.