Thursday, October 29, 2015

Morbido ’15: Honeymoon

“My husband, the doctor” might sound like a good happily ever prospect, but not to Isabel Herrera. That is because she is already married, but not to Jorge Toledo. Nevertheless, the medically trained psychopath is determined they can be happy together in Diego Cohen’s Honeymoon (trailer here), which screens as part of Mexico’s Morbido Fest 2015.

Herrera always thought Toledo was a friendly neighbor, but he was actually dangerously obsessed. After a tireless study of her habits, he finally strikes. Having inherited a house that takes up most of the block across the street from her, Toledo has plenty of room to set up her dungeon. With the use of an electric shock dispensing dog collar, Toledo will try to condition her into accepting their so-called “marriage.”  Yet, as one can well imagine, Herrera remains resentful and troublesome.

Man, this is a tough film to watch at times. However, in Cohen’s defense, it must be said Cohen gives himself one heck of a Hitchcockian cameo. You will know it when you see it. There is also a monster third act twist that will leave your faith in humanity even further depleted. On the other hand, it is hard to fathom how anyone could forget about the shocking dog collar after enduring one or two zaps to the nervous system. Yet, somehow Herrera inevitably does just that.

Regardless, Hector Kotsifakis is absolutely chilling as Toledo and Paulina Ahmed plays each of Herrera’s harrowing scenes with admirable conviction. Alberto Agnesi also hits the precise right notes as her husband, Pablo, but the film is essentially a two-hander—and what bitter, grueling company the two of them make.

Sensitive viewers cannot be cautioned enough: there is some really tough stuff in this film. Still, real craftsmanship went into the production. Like many baroquely styled Spanish horror films, Honeymoon represents quite a feat of mise en scène. Art director Pablo Garcia and his team clearly have a knack for ominous bric-a-brac. Of course, that hardly makes it more pleasant to spend time watching Toledo’s horrors unfold. It is too sophisticated and artfully rendered to dismiss Honeymoon as torture porn horror, but if that is your bag, you will be able to relate. Cohen has all kids of talent, but this is not the film to break him out. For Mexican horror fans looking to support, it screens on Halloween (10/31), as part of this year’s Morbido.