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Students of the university of Salamanca are brutally murdered by a black masked minstrel. Alex, an architecture student who has recently moved to Salamanca discovers a pattern behind the killings; it seems as if the killer strikes regularly after the exams to free the campus from lousy students. Written by
Moritz Muehlenhoff <email@example.com>
Alex is a new student to the University of Salamanca, but upon her arrival she and her friends get caught up in a web of mystery surrounding some deaths on campus and that of the legend of the Black Minstrel. They learn that the Black Minstrel is knocking off slack students who aren't taking their learning very seriously. When the Black Minstrel contacts Alex through an internet chat site, she and her friends realise that it's up to them to figure out who's behind the costume and discover the secret of the Black Minstrel.
Again another carbon copy of a teen slasher film that was started by the craze they call "Scream". "Black Serenade" is a Spanish slasher going for that winning mainstream formula of American slashers and you can easily see the influences. The opening death scene has some very recognizable touches of "Scream" about it and the story is similar to "Urban Legend". The killer and their motive might be different, but simply we've been down this path oh so many times before. Hold on, you might think from what I've mentioned so far that I'm going to tear it apart, well actually that's not the case. I thought it was average. Not below. Not above. Just average. I don't know why, but I was slightly amused by it. Maybe it caught me in the right frame of mind. It has its bad moments, but occasionally it offers a surprise or two and the odd inventive kill. The production was more than decent, but sadly it's predictable story telling. The urban legend of the Black Minstrel going around universities and knocking off the bad seeds isn't a bad device. There's even a nice edge of black humour about it. The back-story in the plot is far more engrossing than that of the horny and drug addicted guys and gals dialogues and sleazy interplay. Well, it did deliver on some tawdry action and there's some decent blood letting. One death scene is an almighty mind trip.
The paper thin characters are rather lacklustre ( I thought bad students would be at least interesting) and some look way too old for their parts, but since the material was rather underdeveloped. The performances from the cast were satisfactory I guess. While, the ignorant students are the usual stereotypes, you also got thrown into the mix a pair of hard boiled cops and a priest with a secret. The red herrings amongst these characters are lousily staged, because it's not hard to pick up on who's behind the mask and when it's revealed it's just too contrived. Now the killer's costume looked decent enough and their choose of weapon was one fancy looking knife, in which they loved to film their killings. The director at times slackens off with the pacing and gives us cheap false scares and bluffs, but within these moments he also manages to orchestrate some genuinely, tense set pieces. Such as the chase scene in the town square and the thrilling climax (before that trite ending), but I didn't get the point of the montage, accompanied by a rock song in the mid section. Huh??? It was just laughable!
What else was funny, was the very mediocre computer effects (that goes for the flames and explosions!). The superbly, laced Gothic cathedral and campus setting was well used and the cinematography did a swift enough job. Soundtrack goes for an fair rock/metal approach and the robust score drums in the usual chants to fit into the mood and surroundings. It might be far from inspiring for its field, but we learn that being a bad student doesn't pay off in the long run. But I don't think this (if you can call it a) social commentary and moral will hit it off and change someone's perception on the privilege of education and knowledge.
It might blatantly rip-off other slashers and have many implausible scenarios, but I still found it mildly diverting.
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