Nameless, The
Emma Vilarasau, Karra Elejalde
Directed By:
Jaume Balaguero

The Nameless is a Spanish language thriller, written by Ramsey Campbell and directed by Jaume Balaguero, that presents an interesting concept in terms of the source of evil. And it's not so much about the evil that causes the problems inherent in the story, but the actual reasoning behind their methods. The story begins in a flurry of horror as the mutilated body of a young girl is found by the police. After a phone call, Claudia (Vilarasau) and her husband are told that the body is their missing daughter.

Five years pass when Claudia, who is moving on with her life after her divorce from her husband, receives a phone call from her deceased daughter. The phone call pulls her into a dark world where she no longer believes that her daughter is dead. With the aid of a retired cop (Elajalde), she comes across a dark cult known as the Nameless. Unlike most dark cults, this one pushes the level of darkness to new depths. The members forgo their names and try to find the most perfect form of evil by performing the most disturbing acts of malice on others. In light of this revelation, Claudia becomes more and more upset as she tries to find her daughter.

As with many European films, The Nameless is quite deliberate and slow with its pacing. There is great care taken with developing the characters as the story moves along. Because of this, some sequences just focus on the lives of the cast and how they act and react to their environment and each other. The film is shot with a a richness that broken in certain moments when Claudia is drawn closer to the Nameless, shattered by a machine-gun attack of images meant to throw the viewer off. These momentary derailings set an uneasy tone that keeps you from feeling "safe" at any given point.

Throughout the film, the acting is solid, proving a deeper dramatic experience than most thrillers tend to get. There area few rare moments of melodrama from Vilarasau, but the rest of the cast makes the most of their time. The English dub actually falls in line well with the onscreen performances, making those who prefer dub to sub experience the film on the same level as those who understand the native language.

The Nameless really does try to present a dark and disturbing idea to base its "monsters" around. It's a concept that I really wish would have been expanded upon. Too bad during the duration of the movie, the film builds to a pinnacle of revelation and then hands us an ending that leaves us hanging. The actual ending is shockingly different than most American viewers will expect, but the execution leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

The Nameless is another in a series of European thrillers that I think most psychological/horror fans should try to watch. It provides some interesting ideas and a cast of damaged characters that can't help but be drawn into the dark events of the ending.

- - Vane

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