AKA Charly, Days of Blood
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DIRECTED BY: Carlos Galettini
FEATURING: Fabiàn Gianola, Julieta Melogno, Norman Briski, Adrian Suár, María Pía, Martín Guerrero, Pilar Masciocchi
PLOT: Charly, a troubled young man with a dark past, is invited along on an outing to a remote cottage, but malevolent forces and Charly’s personal demons disrupt the relaxation, romance, and recuperation.
COMMENTS: There’s a lot of power in the low-budget, shot-on-video feature film. It may be true that everyone has a story in them, but it’s a select few of us who have the determination to do whatever is necessary to bring that tale to life. There’s something admirable about the commitment to making something, even without the benefit of film school training or fancy cameras or even an actual story. Of course, there’s a reason that everyone doesn’t make movies, and the truth is that some of us just aren’t meant to be behind the camera, or in some cases anywhere within a country mile of the camera. For every hidden gem, there are any number of duds best forgotten.
Today’s example of the form takes us to Argentina, where director Carlos Galettini was able to assemble three of the most important elements for any would-be auteur: working video cameras, a space in which to film, and several actresses who were willing to work nude. If the goal is to get a film made, then the bar is cleared. It’s the hoping for much more where things get disappointing.
Charly, Dias de Sangre is the living embodiment of “derivative.” Set aside the fundamental plot of “occupants of vacation home are methodically stalked and murdered.” That’s just basic slasher horror. But it’s the details that really fail to distinguish it from the competition. There’s a dark hooded figure with a scythe stalking the grounds who looks like everyone’s stereotypical vision of Death. Hector Magni’s synthy score brings the expected amount of excessive drama, punctuated by hyperactive tom samples. Even the key art is lovingly ripped off from Nightmare on Elm Street 2. Charly has all the trappings of a fan film, but borrowing more of a vibe than a specific IP.
For a while, the movie plays a waiting game, content to cultivate a sense of unease while making space for some barely clothed canoodling. All the while, our hero alternates between moping around the house in a depressed funk and spasming in his sleep as his nightmares assault him. But in the final act, when the truth about Charly’s dark past is revealed and the murders begin in earnest, the film surrenders any cleverness that it may have had. The soon-to-be victims act in the clumsiest ways possible, the killings are not particularly artful, and everything seems predicated on a last-second twist in which the authorities target the wrong person. It’s frankly impatient, as if the filmmakers themselves are in a rush to get to the stuff that brought us here.
As mentioned, any movie that gets made is a miracle. But being a miracle doesn’t make Charly, Dias de Sangre good, or even weird. Without ambition beyond it’s desire to simply be, it turns out to be a rather bloodless affair.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“… it feels as if there’s portions of the script that were tossed out, or sequences of the movie that were deleted as if to make less sense. The film just kind of ends and we’re left scratching our heads trying to figure out if anything truly supernatural was going on… we’re just going to say this is a daft slasher played up for the video market.” – Chris Nichols, The Trash Pile
(This movie was nominated for review by Wormhead. Suggest a weird movie of your own here.)