Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Double Feature: A Real Friend & A Christmas Tale

Two Foreign Films from Spain:
A Real Friend - Spanish Title: Adivina quien soy
A Christmas Tale - Spanish Title: Cuento de navidad
Language - Spanish
Subtitles are in English
Genre - Horror (Foreign)
Year Released - Both in 2006
Running Time - A Real Friend - 73 minutes / A Christmas Tale - 71 minutes
A Real Friend
Directed by Enrique Urbizu
Written by Enrique Urbizu (who also wrote the film The Ninth Gate) and Jorge Arenillas
Cast Includes:
Nerea Inchausti
Goya Toledo (who was also in Amores perros)
Eduard Farelo
A Christmas Tale
Directed by Paco Plaza (who was also co-director of [REC] with Jaume Balguero - who directed To Let on the previous disc of 6 Films to Keep You Awake) Paco also directed the film Werewolf Hunter
Written by Paco Plaza & Luis Berdejo (both of whom also co-wrote [REC] as well as the forthcoming American Re-make Quarantine)
Cast Includes:
Christian Casas
Roger Babia
Daniel Casadella
Pau Poch
Ivan Baquero (who played Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth)
Maru Valdivielso (who was also in Werewolf Hunter)
Rating for A Real Friend: 3 Skulls
Rating for A Christmas Tale: 4 Skulls

Films to Keep You Awake

Plot Summary: (for both films)

The 6 Films to Keep You Awake collection presents this chilling double feature of horror films from Spain.

In A Real Friend a young outcast named Estrella befriends an older man who resembles a vampire, only to discover that he harbors a dangerous secret.

In A Christmas Tale, an axe-wielding zombie dressed in a Santa suit seeks revenge on a group of boys.

Review: (for both films)

I was a little worried that these two films wouldn't hold up to the previous two (The Baby's Room & To Let) that I watched a few days ago, especially since I watched those in the wee morning hours, and I watched these in the middle of the afternoon [during my son's nap time] :-) There was no need to worry. . .

A Real Friend

A Real Friend started off a little bit slow, but it improved itself, over time. It tells the story of a young girl (perhaps 8 or 9 years old) who loves all things horror! She enjoys reading Stephen King and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as well as watching zombie movies and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - her mother, of course, does not approve of such things. So, when her mother is at work (she is a nurse who works different shifts) the young girl sets herself up in front of the television, with a tray of sandwiches, a drink, and a clock - to warn her when her mother is due home.

Eventually, you find out that the young girl has several imaginary friends - amongst them, Leatherface himself! She also has an imaginary vampire friend (who she believes resembles her Nosferatu doll) This vampire friend of hers seems a little shady. He also appears to her in the daytime, so he may be more than he seems. . .

I do give the director props for several cool shots (my favorite of which took place in an elevator - you will know it, when you see it) There were also several shots of her imaginary friends in the far background (for example - across the street - sitting on steps) which I thought was pretty cool. All in all, this film probably deserves 4 Skulls, yet I just felt that I had to give it 3 as there were some scenes that were unexplained, which irks me!

A Christmas Tale

A Christmas Tale was the better of the two films - This story takes place over the Christmas Holiday, in 1985. It tells the story of a group of young friends (4 boys and 1 girl - all about 12 or 13 years old) who stumble across the body of a female, dressed in a Santa suit, who fell into a deep hole in the middle of the woods. They find out that she is dangerous and is wanted for robbing a bank, so they decide to keep her in the hole, until she tells them where she hid the money that she stole. What made this film extra interesting was that I was the same age as these kids, back in 1985. One of the boys was a big Karate Kid fan - he ran around with a Karate Headband around his forehead and practiced his Flamingo Kick. There was also a scene where one of them was playing the old light-em up game of Simon, where you follow the colors and beeps. I really laughed out loud when the kids starting arguing over their code names - they were using the names of the A-Team members! :-)

Anyhow, I suppose that you are wondering where the Zombie comes into all of this. Well, two of the boys had started watching a cheesy old zombie movie called Zombie Invasion - the zombies in this movie were created by a voodoo ritual and could only be killed by stabbing the zombie, in the brain, through the left eye, until black gook oozed out. . . I am sure that you can figure the rest out on your own. Another thing that I liked was the classic zombie with a busted leg, dragging an axe across the ground - throwing up sparks bit - too much fun! :-)

Overall, both of these films had more of a Tales from the Crypt episode feel to them, as opposed to the originality of the previous two that I watched the other day - hence these receiving less skulls! Still, they are still both worth watching. I am hoping that the final two films in the anthology will arrive tomorrow, so stay tuned!


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