International Weirdness : “Archivo 253”

Posted: September 7, 2015 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Stop me at any time if you think you’ve heard this one before : a group of four amateur paranormal investigators have decided to spend the night at an abandoned insane asylum to see if all the rumors they’ve heard about the joynt being haunted are true. They’re filing the whole thing for their half-assed internet TV show. They set up shop, things go bump in the night, and whaddaya know — turns out they should have stayed away after all.

So what makes 2015’s Archivo 253 any different from the slew of found-footage horror flicks that exploit this very same (and very tired) premise? Nothing, other than the fact that it was made in Mexico and you’ve actually gotta read the insipid dialogue rather than just hear it.


At this point, you could be forgiven for thinking that I must be selling director Abe Rosenberg’s (funny, that name doesn’t sound particularly Mexican to me, but whatever) low-budget opus a little short, but rest assured, I’m not. This is the re-hash to end all re-hashes and apart from its country of origin, the only thing to differentiate this snooze-fest from its peers is the fact that at least 75% of the film is shot in green-hued “night vision.” Seriously, Abe, five minutes would have been plenty, but over an hour? That’s just overkill, dude.


I can forgive the fact that all four of our principal characters (Anna Cetti as Isabella, Michel Chauvet as Diego, Mario Escalante as Mateo, and Juan Luis Tovar as Charly) are more or less personality-free-zones, and in a pinch I can even forgive the fact that this set-up has been done to death, but what I absolutely can’t forgive is that nothing interesting happens in this movie. It doesn’t take as long to get going as some of these “let’s visit an old looney bin and see what happens” flicks sometimes do, but it doesn’t matter, because nothing of any note gets going at any point. “We’re picking up some readings on our ghost activity meters” really isn’t enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up these days — in fact, it never was. But hey, at least this time they’re saying it in Spanish.


Still, loyal readers of this site have no doubt ignored my advice in the past and will do so again, so if you’re one of them, you can check Archivo 253 out on Netflix right now. It’s not available on Blu-ray or DVD yet, but have to imagine that some fool-hardy independent outfit with nothing better to sink their money into will probably release it at some point, given that distribution rights certainly won’t — or at least shouldn’t — cost very much. If I were in their shoes, though, I’d just douse a few grand with gasoline and light it on fire in my back yard. You’ll be out the money either way, sure, but why wait countless months to lose it when taking a match to it is so much quicker and more convenient?

There’s no doubt that this film will richly deserve a place on any “worst of the year” list that I might put together come December/January, but you know what? Odds are pretty good that I’ll have completely forgotten about it by then.

  1. trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

    Reblogged this on Through the Shattered Lens.

  2. whatup995 says:

    Terrible movie….just terrible.

  3. Eric says:

    I agree. For the most part I like these types of movies, the suspense etc. But this one was ok, very predictable which I do not like in movies.

    • Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

      Yeah, I like “found footage” horror flicks too, by and large — I know it’s fashionable to slag them off, but I still think a lot of the are pretty good. Just not this one.

  4. Mason says:

    Hi, I’m a cool “film critic” that watches horror films work the lights on & my sarcasm fully loaded…
    It’s actually pretty good if you’re alone in the dark & have even a spec of imagination but whatever, you have a rep to consider which is way more important than your, uh, “job”.

  5. Do you really care says:

    I think one of the most obvious differences even a 6 yr old child actually noticed was that there were more effects used in this movie than most mockumentary styled horror films. Do you have a day job? You should stick to it.

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