If we had told director George A. Romero the influence he was going to have Night of the Living Dead (1968) in later zombie cinema, still more than fifty years after its release, he wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are, with the frankness of The Walking Dead give rise to derived series; and the Spaniards Javier Ruiz Caldera and Alberto de Toro, in first Malnazidos.
This 2020 film is a surprise for several reasons. For starters, if the second of the two filmmakers is his feature film debut after editing his partner’s four others, this is the first time the latter has kicked things off. And, to continue, with the complexity of offering a proposal worthy of the genrethey got there with virtually no sweat.
It is situated at the antipodes of this already stale formula of absurd humor that is spanish movie (2009), from the large stomach-turning brush of ghost promotion (2012) and three other marriages (2013), by Anacleto: secret agent (2015) and its plausibility issues and failure superlopez (2018). At Malnazidoswho adapts the novel Night of the dead of 38written by Manuel Martin (2012), Everything works well.
Dodging typical zombie difficulties in ‘Malnazidos’
The new film by Javier Ruiz Caldera and Alberto de Toro, which seems to have risen in cinematic rank for the good of his colleague, does not fall into the blunders usually committed in audiovisual productions with reanimated corpses of those who persecute the protagonists to eat them; or, at the very least, bite into it a bit before you lose interest in their guts.
Malnazidos resist the temptation to go of head for fun gore and its repulsive images, with which the artistic departments of make-up, prosthetics and effects have so much fun; like those stalwarts who only settle into their seats to see strewn innards and splashes of strawberry syrup. So forget Peter Jackson and brain death (1992), for example.
In this adventure, the usual zombie snacks are prepared; without ceremonies or checkered tablecloths but yes with more brains than bites and no explicit gutting. To the screenwriters Jaime Marques and Cristian Conti, who did not do much beyond King’s Night for Miguel Bardem (2001) and wild neighborhood (2018-2019), we also owe them their verbal humour.
Jokes don’t make people laugh; but neither do they embarrass others or rush into unacceptable ridicule for which the plot might also fall off a cliff; even a concrete staging, with the very difficult situations that usually arise in stories like those of Malnazidos. So Javier Ruiz Caldera and Alberto de Toro manage to an acceptable level there we appreciate.
Dump in characters, not undead
Another virtue of this film, not insignificant and taken from the book, lies in the fact that it takes advantage of the historical situation of the Civil War which devastated Spain between 1936 and 1939, so crushed according to a certain political sector that it disturbs them. for some obscure reason; and decides on an original twist with more important implications than those intended to make it a juicy narrative detail.
However, we must also notice that the latter would have no beneficial and not even merely visible effect if Malnazidos was not focused on building some special and powerful characters, whose interactions support the development of events, regardless of the sudden threats they face. And the right distribution contributes to this without discussion.
Even a picky eater couldn’t beat the acting work of Miki Esparbé, Aura Garrido and their pals; nor to Javier Rodero’s functional score, not very memorable in any case. For all these reasons, this zombie film by Javier Ruiz Caldera and Alberto de Toro you can run your hand over his face same to most of those who come from Hollywood; and it’s not bullshit.