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Netflix Sequel Shifts Terror to Spain – The Hollywood Reporter



Susanne Bier’s 2018 apocalyptic sci-fi chiller for Netflix, Chook Field, was a half-cooked stew of acquainted concepts lifted above its by-product conception by a commanding Sandra Bullock, channeling grim willpower as she braved a mysterious alien menace to shepherd two youngsters to security. Trauma, grief and parenting underneath excessive duress once more issue into Spanish siblings Alex and David Pastor’s follow-up, Chook Field Barcelona, which is extra spinoff than sequel. It begins from scratch, anthology-style, slapping on new particulars that develop on the unique menace with out providing a lot illumination.

The film is technically achieved, well-acted, atmospherically unsettling and positively watchable. As an extension of a well-liked property that will increase Netflix’s push into worldwide manufacturing, it serves a twin objective. However as style materials, it’s generic, as if the filmmakers had randomly mashed collectively parts of A Quiet Place, The Final of Us, The Strolling Useless and different dystopian nightmares about humanity pushed to the brink of extinction by a lethal pressure of unknown origin, making a world the place the shrinking variety of survivors now not is aware of who could be trusted.

Chook Field Barcelona

The Backside Line

Engrossing sufficient, however unmemorable.

Launch date: Friday, June 14
Forged: Mario Casas, Georgina Campbell, Diego Calva, Naila Schuberth, Alejandra Howard, Patrick Criado, Celia Freijeiro, Lola Dueñas, Gonzalo de Castro, Michelle Jenner, Leonardo Sbaraglia
Director-screenwriters: Alex Pastor, David Pastor, based mostly on the novel Chook Field, by Josh Malerman

1 hour 50 minutes

Departing from Josh Malerman’s 2014 supply novel and from the central character of Bullock’s Malorie, the Pastors need to have it each methods by explaining how the phenomenon works — anybody who sees the creatures is prompted to take their very own life within the swiftest manner potential — whereas retaining the paradox. Their script does each an excessive amount of and never sufficient to justify a deeper dive right into a story that already suffered from contrivances and wobbly logic the primary time round.

Shifting the setting to a Catholic nation permits for a mildly intriguing non secular twist. A wild-eyed priest, Father Esteban (Leonardo Sbaraglia), welcomes the deadly entity as a Divine miracle, delivering misplaced souls from the hell of life on earth. With a small band of fellow “seers,” who’ve witnessed the phenomenon however are immune to its curse, the priest roams the streets daubing the foreheads of survivors with a 3rd eye and forcing them to simply accept their destiny.

A major new growth within the spinoff is a flash of sunshine emanating from our bodies instantly after their demise, suggesting a non secular launch that provides credence to Father Esteban’s perception that “Our God and his angels have come down to walk the earth.” One dying man speaks as if in a rapture: “Their ships have traveled millions of light years to get here.”

However the extra rational characters are not any nearer to figuring out what precisely is inflicting the mass suicides. Some see demons and others see aliens, some see their torturer and a few their God. A personality performed by an underused Diego Calva (Babylon) speculates that they’re some form of quantum beings that tackle fluctuating kinds, observing their prey and immediately absorbing their fears, anxieties and sorrows to control their minds.

We expertise the arrival of the creatures by way of juddering noise, groans, growls and an eerie gust of wind lifting leaves and particles off the bottom, and sometimes we see what they see. However the viewers nonetheless doesn’t get a great take a look at them, solely the briefest partial glimpse in a ultimate scene.

Whereas among the suicides are startling of their sudden violence, it’s all a bit too obscure to hold a lot of a kick as horror and too inevitable in its mounting fatalities to pack a lot suspense. The movie doesn’t do sufficient to tug its viewers in, with skinny characters whose back-stories largely are advised by whispered voices from their previous, carried on the wind with the looks of the amorphous menace.

The Pastor brothers have traveled adjoining territory with earlier options Carriers, a few lethal viral menace, and The Final Days, one other imaginative and prescient of life after a cataclysm. They mirror the fussy flashback construction of Bier’s movie of their development, establishing the central character, Sebastián (Mario Casas), as a determined man, wandering the streets in darkish goggles and hiding out within the deserted buildings of Barcelona as he tries to maintain his 11-year-old daughter Anna (Alejandra Howard) from hurt.

However after establishing Sebastián as a susceptible hero when he’s assaulted by a trio of blind robbers, the script swiftly shifts our perceptions, making us query his motives as he good points the belief of 1 survivor neighborhood after one other. “Am I the shepherd or the wolf?” he asks himself in a second of disaster when his actions trigger him to lose religion, pointing up a duality that provides Casas one thing comparatively meaty to play. We additionally turn out to be conscious fairly early that Anna isn’t precisely what she appears.

Leaping again first to 9 months earlier, the movie recaps the beginning of the outbreak. Newscasts report a wave of psychotic conduct as Sebastián dashes from his workplace throughout the town in chaos to retrieve Anna from faculty, narrowly avoiding being drawn right into a mass suicide on a metro platform.

The motion then shifts once more to seven months earlier than the opening scenes, after Sebastián has been accepted as a part of a neighborhood hiding out in a bomb shelter. That group contains chief Rafa (Patrick Criado); English psychologist Claire (Georgina Campbell, who had extra to work with in Barbarian); preteen German vacationer Sofia (Naila Schuberth), separated from her mom within the confusion; older couple Roberto (Gonzalo de Castro) and Isabel (Lola Dueñas); and Calva’s Octavio.

The plot driver, which ideally ought to have kicked in earlier, includes that band of blindfolded survivors making an attempt to get to a refuge throughout city, Montjuïc Citadel, the Seventeenth-century mountaintop fortress accessible from the town by cable automobiles. Naturally, the group’s numbers dwindle alongside the way in which, leaving a decreased contingent of core characters to face a twin menace — from the other-wordly demise pressure and from the human crusaders decided to open their eyes to “the miracle.”

The fortress setting is a hanging location for a climactic wrestle that factors the way in which to additional sequels. Laia Colet’s manufacturing design usually is efficient — even when the brushstrokes of the CG staff are seen, seeing a wrecked cruise liner half-sunk within the port or bridges festooned with dangling corpses offers a vivid sense of a world with out mercy or hope. The movie’s most spectacular nerve-jangling factor, nevertheless, is its dense sound design, deftly blended with Zeltia Montes’ ominous rating. Too unhealthy there’s little within the story that will get underneath the pores and skin with comparable talent.

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