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The film follows American David Reynolds (Peter Facinelli), widowed from his Colombian-born wife, who flies to Bogota with his new fiancée (Sophia Myles) to retrieve his rebellious teenage daughter Jill (Nathalia Ramos). En route to the city of Medellin, a car accident leaves them stranded in a rundown isolated inn. When they discover the old innkeeper has locked a young girl in the basement, they are determined to set her free. But have they made a terrible mistake? (c) IFC Films
The Damned, releasing on VOD July 25th and in theaters August 29th, will make you think of Colombia in a whole new way. Fun times, hot girls, and a worried father ends the girls fun in the city of Bogota. Not quite the premise of the movie, but a good recap of the opening moments. Had he been more patient, the following film events wouldn’t have ever happened. A mudslide and torrential downpours leave David Reynolds (Facinelli), his soon to be wife (Myles), his rebellious daughter (Ramos), his sister-in-law (Carolina Guerra), and the boyfriend/camera guy from Colombia….yeah, go figure? They stumble upon a lone house in the middle of the mountains, which they naturally go into to seek shelter. Out comes an old man named Felipe, who’s quite the creeper. Things really start to hit home (no pun intended) when Jill discovers a live girl trapped inside a basement cellar. Predictably, the girl isn’t just a regular girl.
There is no denying that the film was an entertaining watch. For a supernatural thriller that’s not littered with big name actors, I thought it was a nicely assembled and talented cast. Peter Facinelli is the lead in the film however his role seems more like a supporting one among the ensemble. Sophia Myles does a solid job playing the soon to be step-mother to Jill and has been doing solid work lately coming off of the recent Transformers: Age of Extinction. Having her in the film along Facinelli lends credibility to the cast, which lets Ramos and Guerra feature prominently in the film. Being easy on the eyes didn’t hurt their matters either. It was nice to see Facinelli in a lead role in a supernatural/horror kinda film. That’s not a genre he usually partakes in. Facinelli is one of those actors you always wonder why he didn’t become a mainstream household name? Talent, charm, and charisma are all there, he deserves better.
Predictable plot aside, the director Victor Garcia got one thing right. I often use the term “less is more” and that notion can be applied to this film. The relatively realistic approach to the cinematography in The Damned works well. There isn’t much, if any, CGI use in the film making this film much more believable and authentic. The film is fairly believable, while shot simplistically ignoring the seemingly easier choice of including outrageous CGI content. That route usually fails, unless you are shooting Goosebumps or something.
Final verdict, The Damned is an entertaining, fun watch. It’s Exorcist lite. The majority of the film takes places in the seemingly abandoned house/hotel. Considering the simple and productive way it was shot I am curious what the budget for this film was? I can appreciate a film being focused on the story first and foremost with this one having lots of twists and turns that are entertaining, but not shocking. If you are looking for a scary flick that will keep you up at night, this isn’t the film. Instead, check out The Conjuring. If you are looking for a less scary Exorcists, then this would be worth checking out. I would check this film out on VOD, instead of waiting for the theatrical release. It’s more of a VOD/Redbox/Netflix kinda film. Peter Facinelli is solid as always. Nathalia Ramos might be an up-and-comer in the industry. Hot, and a solid actress. IFC continues to put out quality films on the market, The Damned can be added to the list.