The Rotten Link Movie Review
Written by Katie Bonham
Directed by Valentín Javier Diment
Written by Martín Blousson and Sebastián Cortés
2015, 75 minutes, Not yet rated
Frightfest European premiere on 28th August 2015
Germán de Silva as Sicilio
Luis Ziembrowski as Raulo
Marilu Marini as Ercilia
Valentín Javier Diment as Arón
Sergio Boris as Klaus
Susana Pampin as Luz
Paula Brasca as Roberta
The Rotten Link is an Argentinian black comedy horror from writer-director Valentín Javier Diment. Set in a small isolated village, the film s explores the moralities of its inhabitants. Sexual desire is at the forefront of their daily routine, with prostitution, rape, incest and bestiality on the menu. We follow Roberta (Paula Brasca) the youngest and most desirable prostitute in the town, who lives with her mentally handicapped lumberjack brother (Luis Ziembrowski) and controlling senile mother (Marilu Marini). Convinced that the townspeople will turn on Roberta, her mother warns that there must always be at least one man that she has not slept with, so Roberta resists the many advances of Sicilio (Germán de Silva). Roberta’s refusal to sell herself to Sicilio angers the entire town and they turn on Roberta and her family. The townspeople are as rotten to the core as the title would suggest...
Argentinian horror films are a rare and iconic addition to horror cinema and The Rotten Link is no exception; from the opening sequence you are duly welcomed to the town of El Escondido - cue a broken chain on the town's welcome sign, and our lead character Roberta's neck unceremoniously broken by the impact. The Rotten Link jumps backwards and follows the lead-up to Roberta's untimely death. The deadpan slapstick comedy and the burning drama as it plays out draws us into this signature style of filming. The Rotten Link offers a black horror comedy without pushing the horror element into overdrive from the opening scene, instead the characters and pace are allowed to play out as tensions rise, and for the first hour it feels more like a sexual drama than a horror film. However, as the film delves deeper into the darker side of the character's sexual desires and unravels their true natures - accompanied by a folk guitar - you feel like you have no idea where this film is going, which is the beauty of a foreign oddity such as this; embrace it and you will not be disappointed as the story turns full circle; cue slapstick horror revenge!
The acting is strong throughout, as each character embodies their role to convey a unified plight amongst this dusty isolated town. Their embrace of the sexual elements, which at times are pretty extreme, combined with intense performances result in a wonderful bleak comedy. Although I personally didn't connect with any of the characters (which, considering the subject matter, was probably a good sign), I was rooting for the blood splatter revenge spree during the final closing spectacle in this surreal horror film. Marilu Marini as Roberta's mother is wonderful as she conveys a terrifying performance in a somewhat 'Don' like character, but behind closed doors we see the fragile side of her, afflicted with memory loss and old age.
The Rotten Link feels like a very surreal journey from a drama to slapstick horror comedy; its style is well executed and the performances carry it through. Argentinian films bring a unique style to the screen, offering a riot in cinema like no other. It is actually the only film during the entire Frightfest line-up that prompted me to turn away from the screen and turn to my similarly shocked neighbour as we cringed together in the dark, hoping that what we thought was going to happen wouldn't (and it won’t be the scene you expect either) ...and much to our horror, it did. I went into this film without knowing what to expect and came out with my top film for Frightfest 2015, as Valentin Javier Diment delivers an iconic and refreshing addition to horror cinema.