The Squad (2011) d. Jaime Osorio Marquez (Argentina/Spain/Colombia) 107 min
A premise with promise is nothing without proper execution. That’s the lesson to be learned from this exercise in military horror, one that covers nary an inch of fresh ground that GP 506, The Bunker, Deathwatch, The Objective, and any number of its cinematic band of brothers haven’t already explored with varying degrees of success. Here, the titular squadron of soldiers seizes a deserted Colombian guard-post only to discover that their former comrades have been brutally and mysteriously slain, the only survivor being a terrified woman, her tongue brutally cut out.
It's a solid enough jumping-off place, but Marquez spends the next 90 minutes abusing his depth-of-field lenses (seriously, if I had a nickel for every tracking shot with someone’s head in the center of the frame and blurry shapes in a halo around him, I’d have the budget for another, better movie), and narratively running in place and around in circles. There are sporadic moments of violence, amidst the brow furrowing and jaw-tensing tedium, as the squad is predictably whittled down, but mostly I was just waiting for something – anything – to happen.
The pre-closing-credits stinger hints at what might have been a more interesting film, but as it stands, this is a 30-minute Twilight Zone episode padded out to a near two-hour running time. It’s also a bit disheartening that Marquez can’t be bothered to reveal anything about his characters such that we might, oh, care what happens to them, focusing instead on pumping up the fog machines and keeping the lights dim. Bleah.
|"Can you see the plot? Me neither."|
The Squad is now available on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory (a brief making-of and theatrical trailer being the sole extras) and can be ordered HERE.
--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine