22 September 2019 | bob the moo
Cruelty played out with tension and realism - hard to watch but engaging
I've watched a few Eli Roth films in my time and generally speaking I've not enjoyed them as they have felt too exploitative, and too keen to revel in the torture being dished out to the characters. I mention this because in a way, Vampiro is very vaguely in the same realm in the way that it engages the viewer through cruelty. In this case it is not gore or imaginative acts of violence, but rather the emotional stripping down of a character till she is vulnerable to the point of being totally broken and defeated.
I'm not suggesting this is a film Eli Roth would make, but it made me think of Hostel in the way that the viewer is drawn into the thrill of the manipulation. It happens gradually, with gentle discussion, but ends in a much darker and more cruel place. It is hard to watch at times because the two-hander approach makes it feel intimate and adds to the feeling of intrusion. Cabrera is engaging and charming until he is not - all of which happens quite a few times across the film. He is the actor that is easy to notice, but Anula does the more important job of convincing us of an outer shell being broken despite a life of building it up; she is great at doing just that with small moments through the interactions.
Not an easy watch, but an engaging one played out with tension and realism.