The problem with Guillermo Amoedo’s The Stranger is twofold: on one level the film is hyper aware of the abundance of vampire films and on the other seems oddly closeted about its own roots. Amoedo doesn’t want to deliver a traditional vampire film, which is commendable, but he doesn’t manage to stop his film rolling around in the muck of dull and dingy melodrama.
The ideas are all here though, Cristobal Tapia Montt’s Martin arrives in a decrepit American town looking for his wife (Lorenza Izzo)but it doesn’t take long before this dangerous loner’s secret begins to infect the town.
To proudly tout Roth’s name is fair play, but The Stranger is such a dark and moody film that it doesn’t really make sense. Even Roth’s Hostel has a preposterous flare for excessive bad taste which makes it pretty fun. Instead, Amoedo seems focused on giving us a round-about vampire film and an abstract horror experience. And that’s pretty boring. The shameless dirgy humour synonymous with Roth’s films and Amoedo’s, to be fair, is grossly missing here and that doesn’t help. The Stranger is a film entirely void of a sense of humour.
A lack of lighting is not the same as good lighting, a lack of vampires does not make a vampire film, and unrelenting counter-productive violence does not make a good horror film. Aside from its gloomy vibe and one POV sequence, there’s not really enough going on here to make it a worthwhile feature, or a particularly enjoyable one.
A few great shots prove Amoedo has an eye for interesting visuals, but operating in monotone and an unattractive penchant for self-satisfied pretention don’t help.
Dir: Guillermo Amoedo
Stars: Cristobal Tapia Montt, Lorenza Izzo, Luis Gnecco, Ariel Levy