FRAMED *** Spain 2017 Dir: Marc Martinez. 80 mins
A slick Spanish horror movie riding the coattails of 21st century American horror trends. Its preoccupations are with social media and spree violence committed by everyday Joes, alongside the post-HOSTEL theme of humans reduced to disposable commodities for the entertainment of other thrill-seeking humans. After a suitably jarring bout of cranial trauma in the opening sequence, we learn the latest video-sharing app sensation “Framed” has already been exploited by pornographers and terrorists, while proving popular with creative narcissists happy to broadcast themselves eating their own shit to the rest of the world.
Alienated hero Joe Manjon – not a fan of social media or “Framed” – ends up embroiled in an unfolding live-stream terrorisation evening courtesy of a trio of home invaders who are staging the event to share on “Framed” under the title of “Amusement In Somebody Else’s House”. Like many of its contemporaries, FRAMED centres around a group of millennials whose conversation is dominated by boasts of how many followers they have while being blissfully unaware of the threat posed by a more dangerous group notching up a vast number of worldwide viewers at their expense. In a quintessential moment of unsubtle 2018 social commentary, the ostensible heroine is too busy striving to get a satisfying selfie to notice the encroaching, hostile figure right behind her. FRAMED revels in remorseless violence, arterial spray, self-mutilation, sex-and-death, grinder-based dismemberment and a reliably cringe-inducing moment of ocular violation. At times it’s genuinely intense, and certainly a potent calling card for the filmmaker. Its broadly played antagonists are suitably callous, though the overall impact is weakened by narrative misjudgements (a character who spends the movie with a knife embedded in his skull belongs in a different movie) and the absence of a truly satisfying punchline.
Review by Steven West