In late March of 2010, the family of Cristian (Cristian Valencia) had planned a trip to a holiday home of theirs, a place on the wooded outskirts of Sitges where they used to stay when they were younger, although Cristian has little memory of it. What he was more interested in was the possibility of investigating a local legend of a girl in a red coat who was supposedly seen in the forest. There were a few stories about who she was and where she came from, but with his two video cameras he was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery...
Ah, video cameras. You know where this is going by now, don't you? That's right, lots of shaky footage as the cameraperson runs about, a bit of screaming, the all-important night vision shots, yes it was Blair Witch Project time all over again. That modest little film had become so influential by the time this was made that the audiences for it could have doubtlessly shot their own found footage chiller and it would not be so very different from what first time feature director Fernando Barreda Luna conjured up here: certainly what small amount of budget was available was right up there on the screen.
Then there was that title, just asking for trouble surely - wouldn't Atrocity be a better name for a film that was skirting too close to living up to its original moniker for those unimpressed with what was looking very second hand and predictable? Though to be fair, Atrocious wasn't truly atrocious in itself, as Luna managed some degree of skill with his desperately limited premise and approach, it was mainly that once you had seen one shot of the camera being carried through the old dark house or the woods outside, you pretty much had the measure of what was going on and were simply marking time until the big twist.
It should be noted that the opening gambit of Cristian investigating the mystery girl was utterly dismissed within about twenty minutes, almost as if Luna changed his mind about the direction his movie was going halfway through (which by many accounts was precisely what occurred). Once we reach the country mansion, Cristian recruits his sister July (Clara Moraleda) to operate the other camera, although from what we see the conceit begins to get absurd with them filming apparently at all hours of the day. There's even a scene where they go down into the basement and film themselves watching a video they find there.
We don't see the video, we only see them sitting watching it, leading you to suspect that these are not real people, as Luna would like us to believe, and actually actors being captured doing stuff like that for purposes of the storyline. And you'd be right, with even a work which barely lasted over the hour mark coming across as padded (you won't be shocked to learn Luna's first effort was a short), but for as much as it went through the motions it was too brisk to get dull. Once the idea that there may be someone - or something - outside in the trees which is going to pick off the family of five one by one gets into gear then you can quite happily watch this as your common or garden shocker, unpretentious as far as it goes. If you were new to this style, it may come across as more effective if you'd never seen, say, REC, or something that pulled this off better; it needed fresher concepts really.
[The Region 2 DVD has a making of as the only extra.]