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updated: 7/13/2011 10:50 AM

Boring cast further sickens 'Phase 7' horror film

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  • "Phase 7" director Nicolas Goldbart strives for a mixture of suspense, thrills and dark comic relief, but he fails to muster sufficient levels of any of them.

    "Phase 7" director Nicolas Goldbart strives for a mixture of suspense, thrills and dark comic relief, but he fails to muster sufficient levels of any of them.

 
 

Maybe I'm becoming disenchanted with hackneyed horror films where frightened people hole up in an isolated high rise building to avoid catching a virus.

How many clones of "Mulberry Street," "Quarantine" and "[Rec]" can a person take?

The newest virus horror tale is a Spanish language production titled "Phase 7."

It takes place in Buenos Aires, a city apparently populated only by two types of people: boring and psychotic.

The boring ones are a young man named Coco (Daniel Hendler) and his pregnant wife Pipi (Jazmin Stuart), who've just moved into the building when ominous news reports about a virus start coming in.

Soon, the health authorities seal up the building where the couple resides, along with a few other inhabitants, among them a wacko survivalist named Horacio (Yayo Guridi), a shotgun-wielding nutcase named Zanutto (Frederico Luppi) and some assorted nefarious types that you might accurately assume will be dispatched early in the story.

"Phase 7" is directed by Nicolas Goldbart, a film editor making his inauspicious directorial debut. It's clear that Goldbart strives for a mixture of suspense, thrills and dark comic relief, but he fails to muster sufficient levels of any of them.

There are moments of abrupt and shocking violence (after all, this film is part of AMC's "Bloody Disgusting" series of independent horror films showing exclusively on AMC screens), but they hardly compensate for a cast of characters so dismissible that you're rooting for them to do themselves in as quickly as possible.

Please, don't wait for the virus to do it.

"Phase 7" is such an ineptly made movie that in one apartment scene, two actors have magic face masks that keep jumping on and off their noses depending on which camera angle we're watching.

The key to creating a successful claustrophobic apartment building horror film lies in characters we can relate to, so we have someone to connect with and experience terror vicariously through them.

The most interesting member of this cast is the virus.

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