Sudor Frío (2010)

Rating: D

Dir: Adrián García Bogliano
Star: Facundo Espinosa, Marina Glezer, Camila Velasco, Omar Musa
a.k.a. Cold Sweat

It is possible for nitroglycerine to be the basis for an edge-of-your-seat movie. The 1953 French film, The Wages of Fear, told the story of two nitro-laden trucks and their drivers, heading towards an oil-well fire – it was later remade by William Friedkin, as Sorceror. This tries to adopt the same idea on a more personal level, where one wrong move leads to big bada boom, as Leeloo might say. And it just doesn’t work. There’s none of the necessary internal logic at work here, and this crawls along at much the same pace as two of its characters.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain. Roman (Espinosa) is trying to find his ex-girlfriend, Jackie (Velasco), unsatisfied with her break-up email. Turns out that email came from the same IP address belonging to the blond guy with whom friend Ali (Glezer) has been corresponding. After Ali enters the building in question, and doesn’t come back, Roman sneaks in the back, and finds two old geezers, carrying out bizarre experiments involving a slew of young women – now including Ali. The victims are prevented from escaping by means of a highly-volatile and explosive substance applied to their skin with an eye-dropper. If they do not comply, then off they go. Literally.

In one of the more ludicrous plot twists of the cellphone era, Roman is unable to call the police or even send a text – but can reach Facebook and also look up nitroglycerine on, I presume, Wikipedia, to find out how it can be neutralized. He sends Ali off to get help, and Roman starts roamin’ the labyrinthine corridors of this hell-house, looking for Jackie. He finds her on a table, drenched in sweat and explosives, and she has to be inched carefully to the floor, from where she can, very slowly, head for an exit. Fortunately, the old geezer in charge has a Zimmer frame, so is not exactly agile when chasing Jackie down. Which is how we reached the end of the first paragraph.

It’s all completely incoherent, with little or no attempt to explain who the perpetrators are, or what they are attempting to achieve, by asking semi-naked young women to solve word puzzles that might have come from the pages of Reader’s Digest. There’s some footage at the start which appears to try and tie everything into seventies political unrest in Argentina: except for the age of the participants, no other connection is ever established. Nor is the logic of the substance at the film’s core ever satisfactorily laid-out. When necessary, it appears the slightest touch will set it off; yet when Jackie is heaving herself around on the floor, there’s not a pop. And I haven’t even mentioned the basement of discarded experimental subjects.

None of this makes the slightest bit of sense. It feels as if Bogliano was making this up as he went along, only to discover half-way through, the concept hadn’t been thought out far enough. Credit to him for persevering regardless. Viewers might not bother.