12 Segundos

Dir: Kenneth C. Muller
Star: Flor Payan, David Medel, Mario Zaragoza, Andres Montiel

Her boss has a very important meeting, but has not returned from a weekend trip to a remote mountain cabin, so Selma (Payan) borrows her father's truck and makes the trek out, deep into the countryside, to see why he hasn't come back. It isn't long before she meets that staple of the rural nightmare weekend, the "friendly" local (Montiel), and gets the usual warnings about why nobody goes up into the mountains. Naturally, Selma pays no heed, and it's not long before her truck is out of commission, and she herself knocked unconscious. She wakes to find herself in the tent belonging to a "hippie mountain-climber", Luis (Medel), although it's not long before further weirdness ensues, such as his equipment vanishing and the tent being slashed by person or persons unknown. The obvious suspect is a local hermit (Zaragosa), who roams the mountain with his dog, acting in a manner which could not be more suspicious if it were deliberately scripted.

Speaking as someone who regards whatever happens on a camping trip as a self-inflicted wound, I was wearing my unsurpried face for much of this - although that was as much because the story elements are largely telegraphed well in advance. For example, Selma has a fear of dogs, resulting from an incident in her youth, and so carries a dog-whistle with her, as instructed by her therapist. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that both of these will become vitally important at the end of the film, as she has her final encounter with the creepy hermit and his canine companion. There are other apparent plot-holes, such as Luis insisting they must climb up a sheer rock-face to reach her truck - clearly, he didn't carry her down it from there to his camp. I will admit, the final resolution, when we discover exactly what has delayed her boss, is not something which we saw coming, and it provides a far better sense of satisfactory completion than the elements leading up to it would suggest. File in the large file marked "reasons to stay in a hotel," as if any more of those were needed.

[October 2015]

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