Yet another take on the reality TV craze, EL
NOMINADO is disturbing because it seems quite plausible in terms of its setting
(an enclosed space deep underground) and outcome (a contestant goes violently
insane). Too bad the film just isn’t very good.
In the new
subgenre of Reality TV horror films, this 2003 Chilean import is better than
REALITY KILLS, but
falls short of SERIES 7.
It was released straight to DVD in the US and can now probably be had for a
couple bucks--provided you’re in an extremely undemanding mood.
UNDERGROUND, the world’s “most extreme” reality TV program, eight young people
are shut in an underground missile silo with their every action monitored by
hidden cameras. The participants include an anorexic young woman, an artist, a
gay man, and Miguel, a moody nut the show’s producers have included in an effort
to ensure there will be drama. They’ve also secretly given Miguel a gun.
Miguel goes over the edge after he’s voted off the program by viewers. He
shoots one of his companions and spends the remainder of the show stalking the
others through the missile silo. Those he catches he kills in various creative
ways: he makes the artist bleed all over her artwork, the anorexic he force
feeds and then suffocates, and the gay guy gets his face chopped up in a fan.
Eventually the police are sent in to disarm Miguel and rescue the remaining
contestants--but by that point will any of them still be alive? And will the
viewer have lost interest??
This film is
slick and scripted with brio, but otherwise it isn’t much. The narrative makes
little sense--why doesn’t anybody in the bunker try to defend themselves against
the psycho in their midst, especially since at one point he takes time out from
his rampage for a sexcapade with a horny fellow contestant?
Too much time is spent outside the underground bunker
with the show’s topside producers and financiers. This has the effect of
opening up what could have a stagy and claustrophobic piece, yes, but it also
deflates most of the tension. The performers all overact shamelessly
(particularly Sebastian Layseca as the psychotic Miguel, who for some reason
insists on showing off his emaciated belly every chance he gets), which further
cancels out the suspense--correction: what suspense?
EL NOMINADO (THE CHOSEN ONE)
Idea Fija Films
Directors: Nacho Argiro, Gabriel Lopez
Producers: Gabriel Lopez, Nacho Argiro, Laura Ferrari, Maria Rita Figueira
Screenplay: Nacho Argiro,
Nacho Arjiro, Gabriel Lopez
Cinematography: Antonio Rios
Editing: Pablo Avila Champán
Cast: Sebastián Layseca, Cristian de la Fuente, Rene Lavan, Francisco
Reyes, Maria Elena Swett, Francisca Merino, Ingrid Cruz, Julieta Cardinali,
Alvaro Escobar, Katyna Huberman, Daniella Tobar