THE LAST MATINEE movie poster | ©2021 Dark Star Pictures

THE LAST MATINEE movie poster | ©2021 Dark Star Pictures

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Luciana Grasso, Ricardo Islas, Emanuel Sobrė, Patricia Porzio, Bruno Salvati, Julieta Spinelli, Vladimir Knazevs, Franco Duran, Pedro Duarte
Writer: Manuel Facal, story by Maximiliano Contenti
Director: Maximiliano Contenti
Distributor: Dark Star Pictures
Release Date: August 24, 2021

THE LAST MATINEE is a Uruguayan/Argentinian has art and horror. The combination is not what it should be, though, due to extremely slow pacing.

A subtitle informs us that we’re in the Uruguayan capital city Montevideo in 1993. Someone more familiar with Montevideo than this reviewer will need to weigh in on what’s changed there to require THE LAST MATINEE to be a period piece.

It’s raining like crazy. The Opera Movie Theater (it doesn’t show operas, it’s just what the place is called, possibly as a tribute to the 1987 Dario Argento film of the same name) is showing FRANKENSTEIN: DAY OF THE BEAST (a real movie, albeit released in 2011, eighteen years after THE LAST MATINEE takes place).

College student Ana (Luciana Grasso) insists that her overworked projectionist father go home for the day; he’s already had one heart attack on the job. She’ll take over his duties.

Ana must then contend with obnoxious, pushy usher Mauricio (Pedro Duarte). Mauricio is only good at harassing Ana; he’s a failure when it comes to getting unruly customers to keep quiet or stop smoking.

The matinee is sparsely attended. Little does anyone suspect that there is a psychotic hooded killer (Ricardo Islas) lurking in the theater.

Director Maximiliano Contenti, who also crafted the story – the screenplay is by Manuel Facal – clearly wants to create certain powerful horror images, while at the same time paying homage to the Italian giallo genre (and possibly to DEMONS and/or the MASTERS OF HORROR episode “John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns”).

Certain shots indeed will stick with viewers. It should be noted that the gore is intense and the makeup effects potent. Viewers with an aversion to such things should give THE LAST MATINEE a miss.

Unfortunately, even viewers who actively seek disturbing visuals are going to have to exercise a lot of patience. Excluding the fragments we see in the movie playing in the theater, we’re half an hour in before there’s any action of note.

This wouldn’t be an issue if there were a lot of character development, mythology or mystery, but THE LAST MATINEE is short on all of the above. We never get any back story on the murderer or his peculiar obsessions. In actuality, actor Islas is the director of FRANKENSTEIN: DAY OF THE BEAST, but THE LAST MATINEE leaves it to IMDb readers to find this meta joke out for themselves. (Most of the people that the killer attacks keep complaining about not liking the movie they’re watching.)

When Ana learns what’s happening, she is a satisfyingly capable slasher heroine, ably played by Grasso. The rest of the cast are fine, but their characters are horny, pliable, rude, or traumatized, without much to distinguish them otherwise.

There are intriguing aspects to THE LAST MATINEE, but getting to them takes more time than many will want to spend on it.

The film is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

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