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Three strangers are trapped inside an elevator in an empty apartment building during a blackout. The asthmatic Claudia is traumatized with the accident with her beloved grandmother due to a moment of distraction. Karl is a widow doctor that loves his daughter. Tommy is a young man that has just accidentally killed the violent father of his girlfriend Francesca while protecting her and is planning to runaway to Paris with her. The tension of group escalates to a nightmare when one of the strangers shows that is a psychopath and sadistic serial-killer. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
'Blackout' is one of those obscure little multinational affairs that can either be jaw-droppingly bad or a rare unearthed gem - happily, it's the latter. Three characters are trapped overnight in a stalled elevator, bickering and bitching as they try and find a way out while thinking back to the sequence of events that led them there. These 'Lost'-style flashbacks eventually reveal that one of their number is a vicious sociopath.
It's clear that Mexican director Castaneda is influenced more by the character driven horror of the sixties and seventies than by vapid eighties slashers, but his interest in people shouldn't be mistaken for squeamishness when it comes to ugly sexual violence - it's been a long time since I wanted to see a bad guy get what he deserves as much as I did watching 'Blackout'. Castaneda uses more than a few moves from the David Fincher play-book, with the camera squeezing through keyholes and cracks and plummeting down elevator shafts, and the whole thing is beautifully photographed, belying what was in truth a meager budget of only $4 million. A great psychological thriller from a director who deserves success.
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