|Original title:||El club de los lectores criminales|
|Director:||Carlos Alonso Ojea|
|Running time:||89 minutes|
|Release date:||25 august 2023|
Killer book club (El club de los lectores criminales), directed by Carlos Alonso Ojea, strives to weave a chilling tale of suspense, horror and mystery. Unfortunately, although it strives to keep audiences on the edge of their seats, the film fails to deliver the thrills and scares it promises. With a premise that sounds intriguing on paper, the execution leaves much to be desired.
The story introduces us to a group of eight friends, all literature buffs, brought together by their shared passion for horror stories. However, their close bond is put to the test when an anonymous individual, in the guise of a sinister clown, begins to reveal a dark secret that binds them together. As the story unfolds, the friends find themselves subjected to a nightmarish game orchestrated by the killer clown, with each chapter of their ordeal reflecting the horror novels they adore. Tension mounts as the trust between the group crumbles, leaving them vulnerable to a ruthless predator.
Although the initial idea has potential, the film fails to exploit it fully. The characters are underdeveloped, making it difficult for the audience to become emotionally invested in their fate. The lack of depth in their personalities means that the deaths of these characters are inconsequential and sometimes even boring. With such a large cast, it becomes difficult to know who's who, which further diminishes the emotional attachment viewers might have had.
One of the film's major flaws lies in its attempts to generate fear and suspense. Although there are a few well-executed scenes that manage to arouse unease, the overall impact falls flat. The film relies heavily on jump scares, a technique which, when overused, loses its effectiveness. What's more, the atmosphere fails to consistently evoke the sense of dread essential to a successful horror film. The supposed horror elements sometimes seem forced, as if the film were ticking the boxes on a generic horror list.
Veki Velilla's performance as protagonist Angela is one of the film's bright spots. Her interpretation of fear, anxiety and determination gives the character a semblance of depth. However, her efforts are overshadowed by lackluster performances from the rest of the cast, who struggle to make a lasting impression amid the film's shortcomings.
The film's attempt to address themes related to literature, trauma and the commodification of horror is underdeveloped and fails to have any significant impact on the narrative. The inclusion of a killer clown tendency seems an arbitrary choice and lacks the thematic coherence needed to elevate the story.
Despite its attempts to be a suspense thriller, Killer book club (El club de los lectores criminales) fails to deliver a truly captivating cinematic experience. Its lack of originality, underdeveloped characters and reliance on hackneyed horror tropes make it hard to recommend. For viewers looking for a more satisfying and genuinely terrifying experience, there are plenty of other films in the genre that better achieve the desired effects.
In conclusion, although Killer book club (El club de los lectores criminales) may attract viewers with its promising premise, it fails to deliver the convincing horror and suspense to which it aspires. Its inability to create a truly unsettling atmosphere, coupled with underdeveloped characters and predictable scares, leaves the film languishing in the realm of forgettable mediocrity. For those looking for a gripping thriller with real scares, it's advisable to explore other options in the genre rather than invest time in this dull film.
Killer book club (El club de los lectores criminales)
Directed by Carlos Alonso Ojea
Produced by Raimon Masllorens, Antonello Novellino, Arlette Peyret
Written by Carlos García Miranda
Starring Veki Velilla, Álvaro Mel, Priscilla Delgado, Iván Pellicer, Ane Rot, Carlos Alcaide, Hamza Zaidi, María Cerezuela, Daniel Grao
Music by Arnau Bataller
Cinematography : Pablo Diez
Edited by Luis de la Madrid
Distributed by Netflix (World)
Release date : August 25 2023 (World)
Running time : 89 minutes
Viewed on August 25, 2023 on Netflix