The Spanish thriller Infiesto brings together two themes – Covid and serial killers. So it’s no surprise to learn that this is a dark detour into the depths of the human existential, explored by two police officers who bend the rules but always bring home the thief. Except this time it’s harder because, well….you know… Covid. Will this added theme breathe some life into an otherwise stony genre? Let’s find out right below.
A teenage girl walks into a city square. She is thin, a little pale and has a sickly complexion. With a tattered dress hanging from her. With sores around her wrists and ankles and she has a straw doll tied to one hand. The cops stop. She screams. Subtitle: FIRST DAY OF LOCKDOWN, accompanied by the sound of a very large and heavy steel door slamming. Samuel Garcia (Isak Ferriz) is a police detective. He wears black shoes, black pants, black jacket, black hair speckled with gray. His partner is Marta Castro (Iria del Rio), who also wears everything black. Her mom is in a nursing home and he can’t visit her. Her boyfriend is symptomatic and isolates himself in a room. It’s raining. This is all trying to convey a sinister atmosphere.
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Garcia and Castro are on the What’s Up With the Gaunt Girl case. She had been missing for three months, presumed kidnapping. All the other cops are busy with curfews, says the boss, so they’re on their own, except when the plot says they need backup or something. Then comes the SECOND DAY OF LOCKDOWN. They talk to the girl’s mother at the hospital, visit one place in tiny Infiesto, a mining town, and then another. There’s this man, who’s known as the Dog Killer. That’s what they call him: Dog Killer. Imagine what a shameless person who kills dogs in a movie and calls himself Dog Killer.
The actor who plays the Devil, José Manuel Poga, really rocks the set and is more worthy of your attention than anyone else in this spin-off.
I worried less about covid as Castro and Garcia’s investigation takes them on a tour of the most depressing locations in northern Spain. It’s just one dirty, abandoned, forgotten, gray, dimly lit scum after another. There’s a scene where their boss encourages them to wear surgical masks because of Covid, and one wonders if they would help keep the toxic microfungus out of their lungs.
But I wander into Infiesto of serial-killer thriller clichés. There are no narratives here that haven’t been influenced by dozens of other similar films. It shows the usual depravity of ritual murder to the existential dread of the early days of Covid, and there’s not a ray of hope to be found here – it’s just death, death, death and more death. Except, of course, death is rarely so boring, or contained in such a disorganized quasi-procedure, full of fine characters.
The filmmakers manage to come up with a plot to place the oppressive atmosphere of ritual torture and murder with the oppressive atmosphere of Covid, but no, that’s not what holds the script together. But what’s nice is that the film moves at a good pace, we have less opportunity to fall prey to its illogic, and therefore it doesn’t have to overwhelm itself with a single compelling narrative detail, or at least one that hasn’t been worn down by so many other films. that preceded it.
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