Wednesday, September 19, 2018

NOLA Horror ’18: Framed

A group of friends think they are gathering for a going away party. Boy, is that the truth. Thanks to the internet, the goodbyes will be permanent in Marc Martínez’s Framed (trailer here), which screens during the 2018 NOLA Horror Film Fest.

In Spain, they are just starting to realize the internet can host of lot of twisted, dangerous stuff. Our latest luddite morality lesson revolves around the live-streaming platform “Framed.” It started out with cooking lessons and the like, but quickly gained infamy for the more extreme videos streamed there. However, nothing tops the violence instigated by the three nameless killers seen in the prologue driving a wronged wife to bludgeon her faithless husband. This time, they plan to get their hands dirty crashing the party thrown for poor, luckless Álex. He was hoping he would finally get somewhere with Bea, but that obviously will not be happening when she shows up with her NGO do-gooder boyfriend Maurice. Then the live-casting killers start to strike.

Frankly, it really feels like this film is late to the demonize-the-internet party. We have been down this road with the Unfriended movies before. By now, we understand our voyeurism is part of the problem. The whole live-casting angle really isn’t new. It’s even happened in real life, horrifyingly. So, that just leaves Framed as a rather routine slasher film, albeit with somewhat above average brutality.

Still, it has to be stipulated, Framed has considerably higher production values than most exploitative slashers. Cinematographer Yuse Riera really gives it a polished but ominous look. Joe Manjón and Claudia Pons are quite competent as Álex and his platonic roommate, the two primary rooting interests, but their characters are quite thinly sketched. Álex Maruny is also undeniably creepy as the lead home invader, but his two accomplices are such problematic stereotypes, it really gives you an icky feeling watching the film.

At least, Framed has the merit of brevity, clocking in at eighty minutes. Martínez does not dawdle with the gore either. It is a well-made film, but it is not nearly as edgy or topical as it thinks it is. Considering the strength of Spanish horror in general, Framed is rather a disappointment. It screens this Sunday night (9/23), as part of the NOLA Horror Film Fest.