Morbido 2015 Review: Is ATROZ This Year's Most Notorious Horror Film?
I have already said on a handful of occasions that Mexican filmmaker Lex Ortega gave me fair warning that his film Atroz was not going to be a walk in the park. I did not bring the vomit bags from the airplane like he suggested. In the end I did not end up needing one but Atroz is one of the most brutal horror films I have ever seen. There are things that happen in Atroz that I cannot unsee.
The film opens with a shocking statement that an extremely high percentage of the hundreds of thousands of murders that happen in Mexico City (just Mexico City? There was some issues with the subtitles throughout) go unsolved. It is more of a set up as to what happens in Lex's film as a handful of them are going to be solved in one sitting. Many murders by the same person; what we find out in Atroz will be the why.
At the scene of a car accident a detective finds a video camera in the glove box of the perps' car. The video on the tape contains an extremely graphic and brutal torture and execution of a street working transvestite. This first video was the basis of Lex's short film of the same name on which this feature length film is based. From this Lex is going to take us on a brutal, horrific and sometimes unwatchable journey of discovering where this inhumane brutality comes from.
As Atroz begins to roll out the cop interrogates one of the perps (played by Ortega who starred in his own short film as well). Even the police's methods of interrogating these vicious assholes is questionable but I guess you cannot argue with the results. But, yes, Ortega's message is clear, brutality can be found everywhere.
At the murder scene the police with find more video cassettes which will explain why and how one of these killers became the vicious bastard that he is. We are presented with a documented history of intentional sexual misidentity, on-going gender issues, and a pair of vicious parents unwilling to account for their own shortcomings at raising their child. This is a story where inhumane acts beget inhumane acts. No. Fuck that. This goes so far beyond inhumane. Is unspeakable worse than inhumane? For sake of this review let us pretend that it is.
Atroz runs the risk of losing these key messages in the film with acts of genital mutilation, sodomy, masochism, and just awfully graphic, bloody violence. There is an act of sodomy that was filmed POV style that is going to turn a lot of stomachs. But as parts of the World are opening up to gender inclusive attitudes Ortega's film shows us the most extreme case of our brutality towards someone or something that does not fit that dying definition of what should be natural sexual identity.
Atroz will either gain Lex the same sort of notoriety that a film like A Serbian Film did in the horror community a few years ago, or, it will get him and his film banned from travelling in any number of countries around the World. Atroz is not for the faint of heart, weak of stomach, those with a gentle disposition, anyone who loves their eyes or their souls.
There could be a lot of pressure to present this film at many festivals because of its extremities but the messages underneath all this blood, gore and shit cannot get lost in the taxing experience one has watching it.