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  Last Matinee, The More Of A Midnight Movie
Year: 2020
Director: Maximiliano Contenti
Stars: Ricardo Islas, Luciana Grasso, Franco Duran, Julieta Spinelli, Bruno Salvati, Vladimir Knazevs, Daiana Carigi, Patricia Porzio, Emanuel Sobre, Pedro Duarte, Yuly Arambru, Hugo Blandamuro, Julio Troisi, Juan Carlos Lema, Vicente Varela
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Night falls on Montevideo, and at the Opera Cinema the patrons are emerging from the evening showing, and the staff prepare for the last film of the night, a horror movie that does not seem to be getting many customers. As the last of the previous moviegoers leaves, one small boy drops his gobstoppers all down the stairs, and as he tries to pick them up one sinister figure in a raincoat gives him back a bright red one. This man has been waiting outside for the final showing, and what has he been munching on while he sat in his car? Something pickled, that look oddly like eyes, that's what. Therefore he is the last person you really want to be sharing an auditorium with, especially as he has brought a knife...

Set in 1993, The Last Matinee, or Al morir la matinee if you spoke Spanish, was a Uruguayan contribution to the horror genre, specifically that part that paid slavish homage to horrors past, though despite the stated setting, it was more the eighties slashers that it wanted to pay tribute to as the nineties variety was not really taking off in nostalgia stakes even this far into the twenty-first century. With a very Italian appearance to its visual style, you could tell director Maximiliano Contenti knew of which he spake, as far as his references went, and old school fans were sure to appreciate his dedication to the physical gore effects rather than a reliance on computer imagery that, let's face it, was rarely scary for an audience brought up on the alternative.

The plot was simplicity itself, merely get a bunch of patrons in a sparsely attended cinema and sketch in some character details to lightly engage us, then have the bloke in the black overcoat bump them off in bloody ways while we anticipate which, if any, survive. Yes, it was similar to Lamberto Bava's Demons, and indeed looked quite a bit like it too, and you could accuse it of being so dedicated to the past that it failed to become its own entity, but the South American origins offered a slightly different flavour to the shocks and dialogue and that, at least, lent it a modest distinction away from the rest of the world's horror tributes. Some of that included material that American chillers would be reluctant to include, even back in the genre heyday when good taste flew out the window: although there was no nudity, there was a pleasuring sequence in the dark.

And its aftermath in the bathroom, not something many films would use as an excuse to get the character in question on his own and set up for an encounter with the murderer. The actual lead was Ana (Luciana Grasso), a bookish student who has been left by her father to look after the projector while she pores over her books in the booth: ideal circumstances for our final girl to blossom. Also present were three teens who think they've seen Brooke Shields sitting down the front (?!), a little boy who has sneaked in to see the movie (an actual horror flick, but not a nineties one, this was made later), the guy who gets the handjob and his somewhat strange girlfriend, an old geezer and so on, so not many potential victims, it had to be said, though the movie made the most of them when it came to their grisly ends. Also, it had to be said a midnight showing is pretty far from being a matinee, no matter what the title said, and it did not seem to have been lost in translation either, but if you wanted a slick, enthusiastic and slightly odd eighties horror throwback, Contenti delivered the goods with a lot of twisted affection. Very fine Goblin-esque score by Hernan Gonzalez.

[THE LAST MATINEE will premiere on the alternative streaming service ARROW 1st December 2021.

THE LAST MATINEE will also be released on Limited Edition Blu-ray on 6th December 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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