July 25th will mark a small milestone in Peruvian cinema with the release of Cementerio General, the first mainstream horror film ever made in this country. While there is an entire regional cinema movement which dabbles in scary movies based on local Peruvian folklore these movies never reach a mass audience and are worthy of an article all of their own.
First-time director Dorian Fernandez-Moris has turned to recent horror cinema for inspiration, citing Cloverfield, the Paranormal Activity series, and Spanish outbreak film REC as influences. Cementerio thus joins the current fad for found-footage films, and will probably make some viewers dread being subjected to the nausea-inducing Handheld Shaky Cam Technique. However, when used correctly, it can be an effective tool to scare people out of their wits.
Couple that with a location which in itself is creepy enough, and this just might work. The film was shot at the general cemetery in the city of Iquitos (the same place where Fitzcarraldo wanted to build an opera house and defied nature by dragging a riverboat up a hill), a place that's over 100 years old and most likely filled with ghost stories and unexplained happenings.
The plot concerns a teenager grieving over the death of her father. In the grand tradition of horror movie characters making dumb decisions, her friends decide to help by spending the night at the title location and using a Ouija board to contact Dad's spirit, and things go from bad to worse in a hurry.
Regardless of the end result, it's great to see Peruvian directors take a chance on genre material. The trailer is below. It's only in Spanish, but there is plenty of screaming; in horror movies, that's a universal language.