23 March 2008 | lazarillo
Very decent Spanish slasher movie/giallo
This is an interesting movie. On one hand it is kind of slick Hollywood-style slasher movie involving an ultra-modern killer who stalks his prey in internet chat rooms and posts his murders on the internet. On the other hand it is enjoyably atmospheric and highly stylized, resembling the much more interesting (to my mind) early 80's slasher movies or the Italian gialli(many of which, people tend to forget, were Spanish co-productions). It has a great setting--the University of Salamanca, one of the oldest and most storied universities in the world. The high-tech slasher operates against this almost medieval background. He calls himself the "Dark Minstrel", connecting himself to a legendary (albeit fictional) group of poor student minstrels who took it upon themselves in earlier times to weed out the most undeserving upper-class underachievers. Like his brethren, the dark minstrel targets students who cheat or have bad grades--his motto: "la ignorancia mata" (ignorance kills).
The plot of this movie is actually pretty good, and those who claim it doesn't hold together really need to watch it again. The revelation of the killer is pretty surprising and is NOT a cheat if you are paying close attention. It's definitely as violent as your average giallo or slasher movie. The victims look pretty long-in-the-tooth to be college students, especially the most recognizable actress, Maribel Verdu (of "Y tu Mama Tambien" fame), but they are no less likable or any more stereotypical than your average slasher movie cast. The lead is a smoking hot German actress, who goes only by the name of "Silke". She's pretty decent and has a nice nude scene, something that is usually missing in most modern-day Hollywood movies (that may sound like a sexist thing for me to say, but the day they start casting remotely average-looking women in these things, based on their acting talent rather than their physical attributes, I'll stop complaining when they don't take their clothes off).
This is pretty decent movie overall, and I'd recommend it to anybody, but especially giallo and slasher movie fans.