The Last Matinee (Uruguay/Argentina, 2021)

A crazed serial killer unleashes mayhem in a movie theater in this Uruguayan homage to 80’s slasher and Italian giallo films.

In the city Monteverde, it is raining, and a group of teens are thinking about what to do. They decide to go to a matinee screening of a horror film involving Frankenstein. The teens aren’t the only ones who are planning to see the film. Tomas, a young boy is also attending the screening as well as Ana, the young daughter of the projectionist. However, this group of people attending the screening are not alone.

A mysterious raincoat-wearing killer has also entered the theater with the intention of continuing his murder spree. This time, he is targeting some of the theater staff and attendees. As the body count begins to rise, Ana and those who are left must find a way to stop the killer or this will be the last screening for everyone in this this theater.

From writer-director Maxi Contenti, a lifelong horror film fan, he brings a true tribute to the genre. Using the likes of Alfred Hitchcock for its tension as well as bringing in the horror films of classic slashers and the graphic Italian giallo, Contenti uses the right elements. In the “Golden Era” of slashers, newcomers were cast and there were inventive style kills. Contenti succeeds in bringing both of these elements to the film.

In what is an interesting move, it is the killer himself who gets the top credit for the film. Ricardo Islas, who is a filmmaker himself and whose film Frankenstein: Isle of the Dead is the very film screened in the theater, is excellent as the psychopath in the film. He doesn’t talk at all, nor does he need to. He is the epitome of action speaking louder than words. Luciana Grasso also brings in a great performance as Ana, the daughter of the theater projectionist. Many of the potential victims in the film are newcomers as well as young Franco Duran, whose character of Tomas is actually based on Contenti himself as a horror film fan since childhood.

Major props go to the special effects team led by Christian Gruaz, whose work goes as far back as working as an assistant on Highlander II: The Quickening. His experience has led him to create some intricate FX for this film. There are some great and graphically violent kills in the film, including one where one victim gets his throat slashed with cigarette smoke coming out of the wound. However, the final third act is where things really get graphic to the point of cringe but in such a good way that it makes up for some of the newcomers’ abilities in terms of acting.

Despite a bit of a flaw from the performances of the newcomers, The Last Matinee ultimately does it job at paying homage to the genre. This is the love child of 80’s golden era slashers and Italian giallo rightfully done by a fan of the genre, Maxi Contenti. Definitely worth checking out.

WFG RATING: A-

Dark Star Pictures presents a Yukon Films production in association with La Gota Cine and Pensa & Rocca Productions. Director: Maxi Contenti. Producers: Maxi Contenti, Alina Kaplan, and Lucia Gaviglio Saklind. Writers: Maxi Contenti and Manuel Facal. Cinematography: Benjamin Silva. Editing: Santiago Bednarik.

Cast: Ricardo Islas, Luciana Grasso, Franco Duran, Julieta Spinelli, Bruno Salvatti, Vladmir Knazevs, Daiana Carigi, Patricia Porzio, Emanuel Sobre, Pedro Duarte, Yuly Aramburu, Hugo Blandamuro.

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