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Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Squad (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Isolation Horror

Having never heard of The Squad prior to the Scream Factory release, I expected nothing. It almost flew under my radar completely. There wasn't a big announcement. No hoopla surrounding it. It's simply a Colombian horror flick from 2011 that's getting handsome release with some evocative cover art. As it is from 2011 it isn't a movie that is following the trend of placing itself square in the middle of an apocalyptic situation and then seeing how a small group behaves in the after-forever pressure cooker, but that is exactly what it is? Sure, it's not precisely a post-apocalyptic movie, but that's the general feel. The Squad focuses on a small group of exceptionally paranoid individuals who fear that everything out to get them and that true evil or at the very least "the enemy" could come at any second or take any form. They might be right.

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

All contact with a military base high in the desolate wastelands of Colombia has been lost. The authorities – believing the base to have fallen to a terrorist attack – send a nine-man squad to investigate. When they arrive, the men discover a shocking scene of carnage and only one survivor: a mute woman in chains.

Gradually the isolation, the inability to communicate with the outside world and the impossibility of escape begin to undermine the sanity of the soldiers. They start to question the identity of their enemy and the true nature of the strange, silent woman. Is she a terrorist? A victim? Or something more sinister? Something supernatural? Paranoia takes root. Prisoners of fear and the terrible secret they share, the men abandon their humanity and turn savagely on one another.


Having seen a respectable collection of P.A. movies in the last year, this follows right in line with all the rest. The production value is good, actors enjoyable, story telling slow (but that's normal for this subgenre) and feeling claustrophobic. It's a release that may have done better about two years ago before it became common to tell this type of story. Mind you this isn't as common as zombie movies or the current robust plague of pregnancy/baby possession horror, but the saturation point is about to hit rocky candy levels. I'm glad that you'll get to see The Squad before we start seeing bigger theatrical releases of this style movie that will force the overdose.

The Squad relies mostly on a general feeling of paranoia and distaste of megalomania as opposed to tradition square tropes though I think you might actually find this closer to Carpenter's The Thing than other P.A. movies. If there's one thing that scares me just a little less than religious zealots, it's military personal with an instant kill directive and a complete lack of empathy. That works very well for the movie especially toward the finale.

The Squad comes with a theatrical trailer and a modest making of featurette. The reverse of the sleeve is movie stills. It's in Spanish with English subtitles.

Scream Factory has offered  Jaime Osorio Marquez's first movie a chance to hit a very wide audience. His follow up work to The Squad was a TV show El Laberinto and nothing listed as in the work on IMDB. Perhaps this release can be the one that spurs on his next effort. It's something that I admire about Scream Factory as of late; taking a chance on smaller titles that are newer and even some that have been created for Chiller TV. It's almost like a second chance. I'm curious to see fan response on this one because while it wasn't my favorite S.F. release this year, it kept my attention and put a unique spin on the P.A. subgenre. What else can we expect for military isolation horror?

The Squad is available October 21st.
https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-horror/the-squad

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