I harbor a special hatred in my heart for cinematic letdowns. Some are overhyped and overrated, giving you false hope before you even sit down to watch them. Others - like this one here - start off strong, then ruin it somewhere between the midpoint mark and the ending. I knew next to nothing about this except that it was set in Albania and had something to do with blood feuds. Ok, sounds great, roll it!
From the brooding opening with all that fun abattoir foreshadowing - the sheep carcasses, the closeups of the rusty cleavers on the table - to the well-crafted buildup of the protagonist family's dynamics, we are off to a strong start. Then the antagonists get introduced - these freaks elevate the film even further, and you start wondering if you're actually watching a modern horror classic. Where is it going?
...nowhere good, sadly. Characters do stupid things, certain interesting plot points are revealed at the wrong time (or never really elaborated on or explained at all), and all the grotesque charm and mystery is deflated out of it so that by the time we get to the anticlimactic ending (to call it predictable would imply there's something there to actually predict), there's only a dried up husk of a film left.
To sum up: a great first half gets squandered on something that ends up being totally mediocre and by the numbers. They could have done so much more with this material, both in terms of atmospheric fright potential and plotting. Try harder next time!
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