Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In short: The Grotto (2014)

American Melissa (Camille Montgomery) and her Italian boyfriend Carlo (Mario Rivelli) plan on having a fine time staying at an old seaside villa in Naples that belongs to Carlo’s family. It’s certainly an interesting place, featuring a grotto with some kind of temple in it, an evil boy ghost, and a secret dark history of violence and not quite successful demonic rituals.

Needless to say, Melissa – because it’s never the guy getting possessed in this sort of film, unless it is 1920 London – soon finds herself under demonic attack. Fortunately, Carlo manages to rope in help in form of demonologist Anna De Luca (Shalana Santana). See how I don’t put the word “competent” before demonologist?

For my taste, Giordany Orellana’s The Grotto is placed very much in the awkward middle of low budget horror. It’s too well made on a technical level to be called bad, but it doesn’t feature much exciting or interesting enough to be called good either. As is too often the case with films I watch, we are again in the realm of somewhat boring competence, by definition not a place where excitement dwells.

The acting is generally decent – though some not me might be irritated by the non-native speakers giving their lines in accented English and I certainly wasn’t too fond of ghost boy’s performance – but there’s little interesting for the actors to do; even Melissa’s possession is a rather low key thing with a bit of catatonia followed by a bit of violence, followed by Demonic Butt Sex.

That last element of the finale did raise an eyebrow, though: I don’t think it is well advised to feature a finale that is based on the male lead trying to reach the female lead before the demon going at her from behind is finished with his business, but then, that might just be me.

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