Friday, February 20, 2015

The Damned – AKA Gallows Hill

Runtime: 87 minutes
Release Date: August 29, 2014
Rating: R
Director: Victor Garcia

The Damned is the perfect example of a film that fails to deliver on the promises of the trailer.

David takes his fiance with him to Spain to see his daughter Jill. The two rarely talked since her mother/his wife died, but he wants her to spend some time with his soon to be new wife. After calling her multiple times without getting a response, he simply heads to a cafe where he knows she'll be and meets up with her and her aunt Gina. Gina is something of a free spirit. She doesn't mind Jill smoking or spending a lot of time with Ramon, who is Gina's cameraman (she works as a reporter) and Jill's new boyfriend.

The five of them head off but quickly encounter a police officer. He warns them that a bad storm is coming and that they need to turn around. Just as they do, their SUV gets stuck in the mud and then a wave of water hits them and knocks the car over. Though all get out, Jill has a slight injury, which leads them to run off in the hopes of finding shelter.

They eventually come across an abandoned hotel seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The innkeeper initially refuses to let them in until learning that David just wants to help his daughter. Once he lets them in, he tells them that his phone doesn't work. He then sees Jill's rosary, which was a gift from her mother, and warns her that it won't protect her. Though she tells her dad what he said, no one can make sense of it.

After nosing around the hotel, they learn that no one has ever checked in since the late 1970s, meaning that the hotel was empty for almost 30 years. The more they investigate, the more something seems off about the place. It gets even worse when they discover a hidden room in the basement and find a young girl locked inside.

Against the warnings of the older man, they let the girl out. This turns out to be a huge mistake when the little girl seems to have a dark side. She seems to know all their dark and dirty secrets, and she isn't above letting those secrets be known as she makes her way through the group one by one.

The Damned had one of those trailers that left me on the edge of my seat and with my WTF face on firmly in place. I even made a little note in my phone just so I would remember the name of the movie. Once I finally saw it though, I wondered why I even bothered.

One thing that annoys me is subtitles. I'm fine with subtitles if I know the movie has them, but this move had no indication of that going into it. Turns out that Gina, Ramon, and a few characters who pop up later in the film speak primarily in Spanish. I'm the type of person who usually does a few different things while watching a movie, which is impossible to do with subtitles.

The movie also seemed to try too hard to appeal to teenagers. Jill is such an annoying little brat that she reminded me a lot of the girl from the last Transformers movie. All she cares about is herself and whatever she wants, but we're supposed to root for her dad to protect her. I'd love to see a movie with a teen girl who actually cares about her family as much as she does herself.

The Damned is definitely one of those movies that I'll barely remember in a few weeks.

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