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Film Review: ‘Blind Alley’

A cinephile’s homage to ’70s horror that’s much in debt to the likes of de Palma’s “Carrie” and Jess Franco, the distinctly oddball and deliberately divisive “Blind Alley” looks like an attempt by critic and debuting helmer Antonio Trashorras (co-scripter of “The Devil’s Backbone”) to show younger auds that chillers don’t have to be calculating and costly. But stripping the storyline back to girl-vs.-monster has its risks in these sophisticated times, and the pic’s main problem is that as horror, it fails to deliver. Limited offshore sales in territories with a taste for Euro frighteners seem likeliest.

“Alley” stakes its retro credentials immediately, featuring Rosa (Ana de Armas) gyrating in front of a psychedelic background. Trapped in a creepy Laundromat, she is tormented by wolfish Gabriel (Diego Cadavid), with few concessions to political correctness or credibility. The best is saved for last, with a deliriously excessive final sequence. Armas gamely sweats, runs and screams, but the constant use of splitscreen and other aging visual techniques turn the pic into an exercise in nostalgia, with only extended cellphone use to distinguish it from the 40-year-old films that inspire it.

Blind Alley

El callejon

(Spain-Colombia) Reviewed at Artistic Metropol, Madrid, March 4, 2013. Running time: 75 MIN.

A DeAPlaneta release (in Spain) of an Antena 3 Films, Dynamo Capital, Roxbury Pictures, Esa Mano Amiga production. (International sales: DeAPlaneta, Madrid.) Produced by Mercedes Gamero, M.A. Faura, Enrique Parbus, Andres Calderon. Executive producers, Ricardo Garcia Arrojo, Isaac Torras, David Troncoso, Michel Ruben, Christian Conti, Rodrigo Guerrero.

Directed, written by Antonio Trashorras. Camera (color), Javier Salmones; editor, Jorge Macaya; music, Alfons Conde; art directors, Javier Alvarino, Juan Carlos Acevedo; costume designer, Ariadna Papio; sound (Dolby Digital), Cesar Salazar; supervising sound editor, Ferran Mengod; re-recording mixer, Alfonso Raposo, visual effects supervisor, Luis Tinoco; visual effects, Onirikal Studio; assistant director, Juantxo Grafulla.

With: Ana de Armas, Diego Cadavid, Judith Diakhate, Leonor Varela.

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