Posts Tagged ‘Ricardo Cayuela’

Due to recent tragic — and still-unfolding — events in Puerto Rico, exacerbated to no end by our shithead of a president’s racism and unconcern, I have to admit that I was rooting for Dominium, a “found footage” indie horror filmed on the island in 2013 for the princely sum of $30,000 that’s now available for streaming on Amazon Prime. DIY flicks hold a special place in my heart even under normal circumstances, obviously, but I went into this one hoping to find a real “hidden gem” that I could enthusiastically recommend to all of you, my dear readers. PR could use some good publicity these days, I think we’d all agree, even from a low-rent movie blog like this one, but — and you knew that “but” was coming — I still gotta call ’em like I see ’em —

And the most I can say for Dominium, it pains me to report, is that I wish I hadn’t seen it.

Purportedly “based on true events,” this flick follows a film crew of five (Emanuel Freire as Enrique, Yomar Davila as Alexis, Nicole Ramos as Michelle, Lycan Maldoando, who pulls “double duty” with a second role later in the film, as Renato, and Juan Boria as Arturo) as they follow up on various urban and rural legends peppered about the island for their supposedly “ambitious” documentary project, only to discover a number of potential links between them (some rather oblique, others decidedly less so) that eventually lead them smack-dab into the middle of a dark occult ritual that they may not make it out of alive.

Yes, you’ve heard this all before — but also yes, if executed well, I for one am still more than willing to allow myself to be entertained by a film of this nature. I stubbornly refuse to believe that the “mockumentary” is completely played-out, but geez — if you’re gonna make one, you’d better have your shit together. It would be unfair, bordering on insane, for anyone to expect something “new” from this sub-genre, sure, but anyone who’s watched a few (and most of us have probably seen more than a few) knows what it takes to make one of these flicks work, and co-directors/screenwriters  Ricardo Cayuela and Eladio Feliciano-Matos don’t really seem to have absorbed any lessons as “found footage” viewers before they jumped in and decided  to make one of their own.

All of which is really too bad, because there are some genuinely well-composed shots on offer here — but the acting is so poor, the story so contrived, the dialogue so unrealistic, and the gaps in logic so wide and glaring that the production simply can’t be saved. The whole “found footage” game all boils down to execution at this point, I think it’s safe to say, and apart from some moody and borderline-artistic images, Dominium simply doesn’t get the job done on that score.

Still, in its (admittedly small) favor, there’s just enough on offer here, I suppose, to make you think “aw, man, what could’a been, ya know?” — and that alone puts it at least  a notch or two above many of its contemporaries/competitors, but it’s nowhere near enough to make this flick worth your time. I take no pleasure in pissing all over the efforts of any amateur filmmakers who are basically doing what they do simply for the love of doing it, but Dominium is rote, formulaic, and desperately unimaginative. I hope everyone involved in its production is safe and sound in the wake of Hurricane Maria, absolutely, but damn — I also hope they’ve all found something else to do with their lives other than make movies.