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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Bar (2017)




I used to be a big collector of physical media. Seriously even after getting rid of most of my collection I’m still sitting in a room surrounded by a thousand or so DVDs and Blu-rays. But I’ve gone along with the times and started to stream a lot of movies over the web. I use Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Shudder to get my fix of new horror. It is also a very cool way of discovering hidden gems that I might have passed on if I had to drop ten or fifteen bucks on it. The Bar is one of those movies.

This Spanish production follows a group of people that by chance end up in a small bar on a sunny day in Madrid. There are some clues planted for what is coming as we watch them all make their way to the bar. After the characters are assembled the action kicks off when one of them leaves. A gunshot rings out as the man drops to the ground dead. Everyone on the street goes running and those in the shop take cover. Eventually one of them goes out to help the fallen man and he too is shot in the head. What is happening? Is it a terrorist attack? Could there be a mad sniper? Or does it have to do with the persistent cough that a few people seem to have?

The theories and paranoia build, which is only made worse when an unmarked truck pulls up outside, unloads some tires, and then sets them on fire. Those trapped in the bar turn on the television and see that the news is reporting a fire has broken out and everyone has been evacuated. Some other things go down and eventually they figure out what is happening. I won’t ruin it here in my review with any spoilers. What I will say is that sewers are gross, and that girl is so getting an infection, though not of the type that caused the panic.

This is a really cool movie that takes its time revealing the plot. There are all sorts of theories proposed by the characters that at least for that moment seem entirely possible. This is helped by them pointing out real world events that would support their ideas. When things are exposed and we, the viewer, are finally let in on the secret it is both satisfying and a bit scary. The filmmakers manage to create a situation that is theoretically possible which only makes it scarier. It is setup in such a way that you can both root for and against them getting out with their lives which is very interesting.

The Bar gets gross in the most unexpected ways...
The characters are fleshed out well even if they do fall into typical horror flick stereotypes. You have the pretty girl, the cowardly and then heroic guy, the nice guy, and finally the weird dude that screws everything up. That character is named Israel and the actor portraying him is excellent. He begins the story as a crazy homeless guy who seems to be the only one that knows and understands what is going on. Then he progresses into a sympathetic character that doesn’t want to be screwed over because he is poor. Eventually he loses it and starts quoting the Bible as he tracks down and tries to kill everyone else. It is entertaining to watch the character develop over the duration of The Bar.

The people are the creature or threat in this movie so nothing much to talk about there. The kills are mostly off screen and not terribly gory. There is one bit of stickiness with a body that I did enjoy. The only part of the Bar that did gross me out some was the floating poop. Just going to give you that teaser and let your imagination fill in the blanks. Or better yet watch the movie.

Seriously if you decide to watch one new horror flick this month it should be The Bar. It is an excellent change of pace and a good time. Not all horror has to put gore on display or have a monster in it. Sometimes the more realistic stuff can be far scarier. I’m highly recommending you check this out.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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