SXSW Review: Cold Sweat
The SXFantastic selection Cold Sweat (Sudor Frio) is like The Wages of Fear crossed with Saw, with touches of The People Under the Stairs. Works for me, as Stairs is actually my favorite horror movie.
Ali (Marina Glezer) and Roman (Facundo Espinosa) go looking for his lost girlfriend Jacqui (Camila Velasco). They find her in a crazy house where two old men rig people with explosive chemicals. They have to escape rooms full of traps, by moving very, very slowly so they don’t set off the nitro.
Roman finds Jacqui on a table covered in nitroglycerin. The whole process of getting her off the table takes five minutes. The gratuitous horror nudity is a whole Wages of Fear endeavor because Jacqui has to strip off her nitro soaked clothes. They have to inch up stairs with dynamite crates underneath.
Focusing on the sweat really works. Each drop feels like a story, moving from brow to cheek, and will it drop on the ground and cause an explosive reaction? There’s still room for humor, when Ali and Roman think to cut Jacqui’s nitro soaked hair and Jacqui still doesn’t want it too short.
The house of horrors is my People Under the Stairs aspect, but it turns out there actually are people under the stairs too! Mutilated victims of previous explosions didn’t quite die, so they show up scarred.
Every room of the house is an even crazier nitro situation. Each one takes 10-12 minutes to clear, so the screen time really lasts in a relatively contained environment. Some rooms get too hot for the nitro and the bombers have the house set up to plague intruders.
The explosives are tied to an event in Argentine history where militia explosives went missing. That may play well in Buenos Aires, but as far as I’m concerned they could just be some crazy dudes stockpiling nitro. I definitely want to see writer/director Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s other films because he constructs suspense so skillfully here.