Glasgow FrightFest 2020: In the Quarry
Directors: Bernardo & Rafael Antonaccio
Writers: Bernardo & Rafael Antonaccio
Starring: Paula Silva, Rafael Beltrán, Augusto Gordillo, Luis Pazos
Excited to introduce her new boyfriend Bruno to her best friends, Alicia organizes a sun-drenched barbecue and swimming party at an abandoned quarry near her hometown they used to frequent as children. At first, it’s all good times, but as the day progresses, secrets are revealed, macho bravado and jealousy appears and bonds are broken. And soon an act of brutality unleashes everyone’s true nature.
K. I had no idea what to expect going into this movie and I was pleasantly surprised. Alicia (Paula Silva) and Tincho (Rafael Beltràn), former lovers, are introduced in the midst of an impulsive rekindling of their relationship. They rejoin the rest of their group at the quarry which is Tola (Luis Pazos), their goofy childhood friend, and Bruno (Augusto Gordillo), Alicia’s new boyfriend from the city. Immediately, there is an underlying tension between Tincho and Bruno and Alicia who’s caught in the middle. As the film progresses and these tensions boil, this love triangle serves to illustrate the foolish behaviors men perpetuate to assert their masculinity in the face of romantic rivals and even more so to show how neither man is concerned with what Alicia actually wants, they just seek to possess her. From the first frame you know you’re in good hands. The cinematography is precise and evocative. The writing and acting really shine here. They make great use of their prime location and limited scope by truly investing in the characters and story, making them recognizable archetypes with three dimensions. The directing team of Bernardo & Rafael Antonaccio do a magnificent job of shaping the action and performances here, taking their time to set things up properly. I found myself invested in the story long before it took a dark turn and ratcheted up the intensity. This is definitely a film to go into blind, not knowing too much about where it’s going. It’s easily one of my favorites of the Fright Fest bunch, right alongside VFW. And I’m psyched to see what Bernardo & Rafael Antonaccio do next. C. Male ego, cheating, isolation, alcohol and class differences with the ol’ love triangle leads to a disaster plot, huh? Once you’re presented with that information there’s only a couple ways for it to turn out… and none of them are happy. Mumblegore (the horror version of mumblecore) relies on the relationships of its characters and building tension that makes up ⅘ of the runtime. This subgenre has proven to be a niche even among the biggest horror fans, because if any element is weak then it can drag the whole movie down. Fortunately, In the Quarry works very well based on the story it’s telling. There were many moments throughout where I hoped for different outcomes but that’s an issue of personal taste and does not justify criticism of the story they’re telling. However, I will bring attention to the multiple “Chekhov’s guns” that aren’t given a rewarding payoff. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term,“Chekhov’s gun” basically means that every element in a story must be necessary. Now the movie does its best to utilize a majority of them but there’s so many presented within the dialogue or random actions that it loses itself in the possibilities it creates. This is to the point that within the last ten minutes it feels like a laundry list of things to check off (Check off? Chekhov? That wasn’t even planned). The acting deserves to be highlighted mainly around the growing tension between three out of the four characters. This movie also presents a challenge because those same three out of four characters are not that likable but they are engaging. This makes the long build of tension so much easier. A lot of emotional subtly is used until the last 30 minutes which even gives the viewer anxiety so they must have done something right. Though I’d disagree with the synopsis that was provided above because I didn’t feel at any moment Alicia was too excited to introduce her boyfriend since you could feel the tension from the moment we meet everyone. Overall the movie shows a lot of skill for everyone involved and I’d love to see what these filmmakers could do with a bigger budget behind them. Sure there were issues that are easy traps to fall into when making these types of movies (mumblecore/mumblegore) but they provided an interesting take on a tale as old as time. J. One thing that was interesting to me about this is that I found it to be a remarkable example of the mumblecore genre leaking out into other countries from the USA. The script had no bullshit plot points where they “belong” and it was essentially an hour of build up until the last 15 minutes or so when something “happened” and in this case, the shit hit the fan for our four characters. The thing about it too… it was never not interesting. The relationships between the four was complicated to say the least and the interactions were genuine. It also has to have one of the lamest fight scenes I’ve ever seen but I guess that’s how a fight in real life would happen between 2 dudes who aren’t pro fighters. I give major kudos to the filmmakers too in that, they had to have spent about $100 to make this thing. Four actors all in an outdoor location with zero special effects and a little karo syrup and make-up effects. I love when things like that end up working so well and In the Quarry certainly does. There’s terrific tension that builds throughout that first hour or so and there’s also some terrific comic relief from one character in particular. When the last 15 minutes hits it’s such a release of that tension in bloody disturbing fashion and it pays off tremendously.
C. I agree with the other two, it’s a great example of how to successfully execute a mumblecore-type movie. Are there issues? Of course. There’s moments of meandering, arguably a weak female character, and other criticisms that are common with the subgenre. However, even the “greats” that fit into this style of storytelling face similar criticism. If you’re using one location and your screen time is primarily people just talking (as you’d find in a stage play) you have to work even harder to justify its cinematic qualities. Thanks to its cinematography, In the Quarry is cinematic, which already puts it ahead of many like it. While within this festival there have been others that I’ve personally enjoyed a lot more, this is one I’ll push for. It shows what this genre can accomplish at its most minimal and I for one love to help new voices claim their place in this industry. J. This one is, without a doubt, the best example we’ve seen for this Fright Fest at working on as low a budget as you can get. In many ways, this forces the creative team to… well, be more creative and the titular quarry was put to phenomenal use and I can’t say how or why because spoilers. This one likely won’t be for everyone and the douche baggery of characters and pace may be the biggest detractors for folks but trust me when I say, you’ll wanna see how this all turns out for these people. And you might never look at fishing the same way after. K. I think we all agree that this is a really solid film. I didn’t find too many issues with Chekhov’s guns. I thought despite the varying topics of dialogue it was all working towards the inevitable conflict that was running beneath all the action. If anything I’d say that there were a few moments during the climactic section that felt a tad rushed and they could’ve taken their time to clarify things. But I really enjoyed this film and like I said, I’m excited to see where these filmmakers go next. Bloodhound’s average score: 3 1/2 out of 5