The Dark Hour [La Hora Fria](2006)

So many interesting foreign films never make it to the U.S.

It doesn’t help that most Americans don’t know any language other than English.  Nor is it particularly helpful that most of us won’t watch a film with subtitles unless someone else drags us to see it.  The end result is that one hears of fascinating films like Proxima, Cargo or Nydenion making the film festival circuit with little hope that they’ll ever show up here, even on video.

There’ve been quite a few interesting SF and horror films coming out of Spain lately, apparently because they now have their own film school turning out a crop of talented young filmmakers every year.  La Hora Fria is one of their better offerings.

It seems somewhat familiar, at least, at first:  eight last survivors huddle in a sprawling, increasingly decrepit bunker, trying to defend themselves from the zombie-like attackers outside.  But when the cold hour arrives, they have to hide behind locked doors to protect themselves from a mysterious threat which has killed everyone who ever got a look at it.

It’s tense, tightly assembled, and far better than most of the zombie films out there.  However, it is the brick-to-the-face shock of its unthinkable final twist that truly distinguishes this film from its lesser (if more marketable) American competitors.

But I guess they don’t have to fear.  It won’t be playing in the multiplex anytime soon.

(Film available here).

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