Movie Title: Bajo la sal (Under the Salt)
Release Date: October 17th, 2008 (Mexico)
Date Seen: June 28th, 2012
Quick note: All foreign movies, regardless of the language, I watch with subtitles. I cannot stand dubbed movies. You lose so much in the dubbing. Even in just the subtitles you lose something, but you can still hear the original inflection in voices and real emotions the actors have, that dubbed actors generally don’t have. I speak Spanish so they are even better for me, but this statement holds true for ANY language film.
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
I started watching this movie because Netflix told me that I would like it. It’s a thriller mystery type movie, girls are missing, who killed them, blah blah.
Let me tell you. The movie was not what I was expecting? Why? I won’t tell you in this part. Just go watch the first 8 minutes of the movie. It’s on instant viewing in Netflix. Trust me. Watch them. You will have a “WTF WAS THAT” moment, and I promise you (if you like these types of movies) you will be hooked. The rest of the movie, I found, pretty predictable, but still a good watch. There’s a little back story you get behind the main cop that I found completely unnecessary, but other than that I loved the movie and would recommend it.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler ridden review
So what’s the weird thing that unexpected? I’m not going to tell you yet. Make you read a little bit before I tell you what it was.
So, it starts out your typical, we find some dead bodies around the salt flat in town. There have been a number of missing girls over the last 5 or so years and now the bodies are turning up. Comandante Trujillo (Humberto Zurita) comes to help the local sheriff… kind of on his own terms. Later you find out he’s being investigated for something and therefor isn’t actually a police officer right now… but that’s the back story that had nothing to do with the actual plot and was completely pointless. But man, Zurita, was a gooooood looking old man. And yes, I can say old because he is older than my dad. So it’s ok.
We are introduced to Victor Zepeda (Ricardo Polanco), the son of the towns coroner/funeral home guy. He’s weird. REALLY weird. And he’s the one that the movie, at first, is pointing you towards the one doing the crimes. Why? Because of his strange hobby (I’ll tell you about it in a bit), his love of hardcore crazy music, his goth-ness, etc. He’s just the perfect one to pin it all on, right? So obviously he’s not the one doing it.
So over the course of the movie, as we learn some facts, it becomes pretty clear who the killer is. First you just get to know the characters, so you make your own assumptions (at the beginning I thought maybe the kids dad), but once you get some clues, it’s obvious. Oh, you mean that family that runs the school is feared by everyone? You mean they run the town? You mean they let teachers rape their students and get away with it? You mean some girls tried to kill the family at the school, and only one guy survived? You mean THOSE girls are the ones that died?! Duh, the new school counsuler did it. It wasn’t hard to figure out when you got the first clue/hint.
But ok, now onto the weirdness part. If you want the plot, watch the movie. It’s a decent plot. But what takes the movie from “meh” to “OMG” is Victors strange habit. What is it? He makes stop-motion-horror flicks… out of Barbie dolls. And they’re not bad ones either, they’re intense little movies, with the Ken doll torturing the Barbie doll, Barbie doll escaping and running through the woods, Ken doll catching her and axing her in the stomach, Barbie doll bleeding to death, etc. IT WAS WEIRD. And it happens in the first 8 minutes of the movie. You are sitting there, watching a body being discovered, and the cops wondering what to do, and then that comes on. As it ends, an even more slowed down version of the Marilyn Manson version of “Sweet Dreams” comes on, and you see just a hand moving the dolls and making the stop motion. It’s so weird, and at that point you’re completely hooked. You just can’t stop, because you’re so confused. And honestly, I think it was one of the best musical choices I’ve EVER seen in a movie.
The movie also has a number of great shots, great cinematography, paired with excellent musical choices. That also makes the movie stand out.
What? Really? A 7/10?? Yeah. I REALLY liked this movie. It kept me on my toes for the sheer weirdness and great shots. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of movie. And I’d recommend everyone watch those first 8 minutes just to have your mind messed with.