The Last Matinee

10/19/2021 06:29

Film: The Last Matinee (Al morir la matinee)

Year: 2020

Director: Maximiliano Contenti

Writer: Maximiliano Contenti and Manuel Facal

Starring: Ricardo Islas, Luciana Grasso and Franco Duran



This is a movie that the Gateway Film Center was showing as part of their online content. I was trying to see if there was a way to watch it without paying extra, because the price was a bit steep. Regardless, it was one that I put on a list to check out for this year as it sounded interesting. It ended up working out as an interesting South American Double Feature for Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast and for my Odyssey through the Ones. The synopsis is it’s a soaking wet day with rain pouring down and one of the best things to do is to go seek refuge in a great old cinema. There’s just one problem: a murderer is on the loose and he also has taken refuge there.

For this movie, we start getting an idea of the town that we’re in. It isn’t a bustling, large city, but big enough with its port and industry. We see that the day is dreary. We follow a car driven by Ricardo Islas. He isn’t given a name in the movie and the one on the Internet Movie Database is a spoiler. He pulls what looks like an olive from a jar and eats it. It is done in a gross manner to showcase what type of person he is. He then takes black gloves out of the glove box and goes into the theater. It should be pointed out that it is 1993.

Our man enters the theater as the movie is ending and some patrons are still in their seats. There are a group of kids that the usher informs needs to leave, but one stays, hiding under the seat. There is also an old man that refuses to leave and gives our usher, Mauricio (Pedro Duarte), trouble in the past. He gives up by not being paid enough.

A woman by the name of Ana (Luciana Grasso) shows up looking for her father. She is informed by the woman working the ticket booth that Javier didn’t show up so there is no one to run the projector. She goes up to speak with her father and he’s adamant he has to stay. She convinces him that she can do it as she can study there. With his health the way it is and his age, he is going home to which he reluctantly agrees.

Joining these people in the theater are also Ángela (Julieta Spinelli), Esteban (Bruno Salvatti) and Goni (Vladimir Knazevs). They’re a group of teens who are drinking outside before the movie starts. There is also a new couple on what feels like their first date of Gabriela (Patricia Porzio) and Horacio (Emanuel Sobré). He got the pass, but knew nothing of the movie. She is a bit brash and rude as well.

Our nameless man locks down the theater and starts to pick off those inside. Being that people in a dark cinema keep to themselves unless you’re being loud, he is able to work without being noticed. Will someone realize what he is doing before it is too late?

That is where I’ll leave my recap as I think that expands the idea a bit more and sets the stage. Where I want to go next is that I had a lot of fun with this movie. I debated while watching this if it was a giallo or a slasher film. It feels like it is a combination of both of them. I’d say the former for some of the lighting as well as the soundtrack. For the latter, we get some brutal kills which could make it either. What makes me lean more into more of a slasher is the variety of ways the kills are done. Not to say again that gialli can’t do this, but just how it felt to me. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme though.

Going to something else I like is the setting. A theater for a horror movie is a location that I love. As I’ve already lain out, it has a good set up. If you can keep someone quiet while you kill them, those around might not realize it. The killer is strategic in using the movie that is playing to mask what he is doing. I did also find it a bit Meta that the killer is portrayed by Islas here, because the movie shown is Frankenstein: Day of the Beast which he directed. It helps that he could probably get it for free or cheaper to be shown within this film, but still a cool touch for me. To tie this all back together though, a horror movie is being shown. If someone in the theater screams, it could be masked by the movie and it’s audio as well.

Something else I wanted to reference here that is a bit Meta are the movie posters. There is one for Dario Argento’s Opera, which is a violent giallo. There is also a Spanish Evil Dead poster, another for Galaxy of Terror and another Meta one with Anguish. For this last one, there is part of the movie taking place in a theater so I think that is cool as well. I’m a sucker for this as we are seeing the influences on the movie with these from what I could tell.

I think that is about enough for the story so I’ll next go to the effects since this is a slasher. What they used looked to be done practically, which I’m a big fan of. The blood and gore looks good as well as realistic enough for me. I like what the killer does to his victims as it feels like something from another movie I’ve referenced. The cinematography is also well done. The giallo feel with the lighting is something that made me happy. I’ll also throw in here that the soundtrack was well done, giving it again the feel of a giallo.

Then the last thing to go into would be the acting. I don’t think it is great, but it doesn’t need to be. I got to know all of the characters enough to make them distinct. Islas has a good look as our villain. There is a sleaziness about him that fits. Grasso was good as our lead here. Franco Duran as Tomás, who is the boy who stays in the theater, is fine. I liked him being in the cast. Aside from that, Spinelli, Salvatti, Knazevs, Daiana Carigi, Porzio and Sobré were all as well as our theater goers. They all helped to round this out for what was needed.

So then in conclusion here, this is a solid little giallo/slasher type film. I think we have an interesting enough killer with a good setting. The actors bring the characters to life and give them enough personality. The effects were good and I was impressed there. The cinematography, lighting and the soundtrack all helped with what the movie needed as well. I don’t think this is a great movie, but I enjoyed my time with it. This one I may end up rewatching if it comes to a free service before the end of the year to see where I sit with it. For me, this is a good movie. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go much higher than what I’m giving it here.


My Rating: 8 out of 10