An extremely large number of murders remain unsolved in Mexico each year, leaving those of us to wonder how the perpetrators get away with their heinous crimes. Even though there have been a countless number of horror films “based on true events,” it is possible that first-time feature film director Lex Ortega’s Atroz is one of the most accurate depictions of every day life in Mexico.
After a gruesome accident, the police commander in charge of the scene takes it upon himself to search the vehicle of the drunken duo who caused it all. In his search, he comes across a video tape that shows the two men kidnapping and torturing a local prostitute. Upon interrogating the men further and discovering the location of the victim’s body, more tapes are discovered, exposing more perverse and vile acts.
Presented like many other found footage films before it, Atroz is a mixed bag of shaky handheld recordings and traditional filming techniques tied together in one continuous progression. I’ve seen more than my fair share of both found footage films and torture flicks, but this one ranks up there as one of the most explicit, bordering on the cusp of ‘too hard to watch’ multiple times.
The mutilation scenes, which are introduced almost right off the bat mind you, are extremely graphic and due to the amazing work by the insanely talented individuals of Reality FX Studios, are also extremely realistic. Atroz is unrelenting and doesn’t stop with just one or two small clips to hold us, the audience, over. No, each subsequent found tape contains more violent acts that even I find hard to describe. Rape, torture, murder, incest, necrophilia, and any other perverse act you can think of are all present throughout this film’s 79 minute runtime.
While Atroz remains difficult to watch, it is also beautifully crafted by director Lex Ortega. Ortega, who clearly has a knack for creating horrifying art, took to crowdfunding, like so many other filmmakers of this era, and was able to gather enough funds to create this twisted tale of two vicious serial killers. With the help of a great team — producers, effects artists, sound designers, cinematographer, and co-writer — Ortega has managed to make one of the goriest films of the past decade, while also telling a story.
Thanks to Unearthed Films, Stephen Biro at the helm, Ortega was able to score distribution for Atroz. Fitting right in with the rest of the Unearthed filmography (see Collar, 100 Tears, Sheep Skin), Biro has made the right choice and even presents the film in a wonderful way for all collectors to enjoy. The film’s release sees a beautiful Limited Edition set containing the film on both DVD and Blu-ray, along with a third disc of the film’s soundtrack. In addition to the film, the discs include tons of bonus featurettes, showcasing the film’s score, make-up effects, and much more. I recommend this film to all true underground horror fans and anyone else out there who desires depravity; You’ll have one hell of a good time with this one.
While very unsettling, Atroz definitely succeeds at what it sets out to do — depict the violent nature of [a few of] those who populate the gritty streets of Mexico. I give this one a well-deserved Repulsive rating of 3.5 mutilated genitals out of 5.