Ithaca Review: Argentinian ‘Terror 5’ Compelling and Confounding

Part of this year’s Ithaca Fantastik Film FestivalTerror 5 is Argentina’s confounding and enigmatic political and cultural horror film that depicts people as the ultimate source of terror. Terror 5 screened this past Saturday, November 12 in Ithaca, New York.

Terror 5 is not an easy film to pinpoint. Although it seems to fit a narrative structure at first, everything that transpires in the film feels like a dream, a surrealistic interpretation of political corruption and justice (or lack thereof) in Argentina. And just when we think we begin to understand a moment in the film, the fabric of that narrative is torn asunder as we are thrust into another tale within the same shared space. We begin with what appears to be riots and protest after a politician gets away with a crime that killed 15 due to negligence.

That’s just one tale that leads in and ties, and even wraps around, the entirety of the film. Soon after we are introduced to two college students who sneak into their school late at night where unsavory things are going on; a group of friends, one with Gene Simmons KISS make-up discuss snuff films; while a couple plan for a night of passionate sex in a motel room. Everything seems normal enough, however, the tapestry of Argentina’s youth culture and political sphere is obfuscated when blue-eyed “zombies” rise from the dead, with very little explanation, and run amok in the city. It’s almost as if the specters of the past have manifested in an attempt to destroy or reveal the sins of the past.

Sebastian and Federico Rotstein’s Terror 5 is a probing look at Argentinian culture and politics. Although the film is enigmatic it is never confusing or inaccessible, part of the fun is thematically connecting all the moments in the film together and figuring out what it all means. As far as narrative goes, despite its enigmatic nature, everything makes sense, and aims high with its sociopolitical approach. Terror 5 demands repeated viewings to fully grasp the scope and genius of the film, which is thought provoking and confounding at times, but entirely enticing and compelling.

For more information on Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival visit their Official Website. Terror 5 is in Spanish with English subtitles. Check out the film’s trailer below.