Scary movies come at us in all different kinds of forms, but usually the ones that succeed the most are the ones that creates that fear not in what we see, but in what we don't see with the suspense that it creates. "The Squad" is a tense psychological horror that at least tries to do just that but ends up being just a little too long.
Starring Juan Pablo Barragan
Written and Directed by Jaime Osorio Marquez
After losing contact with a military base, a high mountain unit is sent to investigate. Upon arrival, they find only a woman in chains. Isolation and the impossibility of escape serve to undermine the soldiers' judgment. Prisoners of fear and paranoia along with a very dark secret they must be prepared to kill unless they can determine their true enemy and overcome a nearly impossible obstacle.
A nice idea for a psychological horror thriller from first time director Jaime Osorio Marquez but it ultimately suffered from some pretty obvious pacing problems. The set up took far too long, as the first act and set up dragged an interminable amount of time to get everything going. It was a solid idea that was well shot at a creepy remote location, but the script was lacking a little bit of focus as it seemingly got distracted from the story points that it was trying to make. It all resulted in a bit of a mess, even though it was kind of an interesting one. Marquez kept the proceedings visually very rough and occasionally hard to watch as it had an effective visual vibe but the material on the page never really had a chance to connect with an audience as the dialogue and its delivery occasionally felt forced and awkward, just trying to set us for the next segment in that film that was gruesome and shocking, or at least was supposed to be.
The cast was decent enough, and played to settings well enough but there is a distinct possibility that there was a little something lost in translation on this film. Some of dialogue didn't flow and it could have either come from culture differences or translations problems but it is a hard movie for North American audiences to fully buy into.
Picture and sound were fine enough and there were no special features on this Blu-Ray release.
With "The Squad" there is some undeniable talent on display, even the best of need some direction and fine tuning as this story needed to be leaner and meaner for it to really work. As it is right now, it only kind of scratches the surface.
2 out of 5 stars.