“The Fee” ( “La Cuota,” 2015): Deadly Menace Rules Over Argentinian Apartment Building

A new tenant in apartment complex finds himself suddenly drawn into a nightmare world of conspiracy and paranoia in the horror—comedy short film The Fee (La Cuota). Director Juan Falco serves up an entertaining slice of foreign fear fare with this Argentinian effort.

All Marcos (Juan Denari, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Juan Falco) wants to do is goof around on his computer a bit and get a little high, but his girlfriend has other plans. This obvious fright-film fan – his bathroom has a Jaws shower curtain and his apartment is decorated with horror movie posters and memorabilia – is about to become trapped in a terrifying situation of his own when he leaves his apartment to try and meet her. His apartment-building neighbor Julio (Manuel Boerr) is waiting for him in the parking lot, bloodied and paranoid. Julio tells Marcos about a mysterious association and a deadly building manager, and things only get stranger as the night goes on.

Julio (Manuel Boerr) warns neighbor Marcos (Juan Denardi) about a deadly conspiracy happening in their apartment building in director Juan Falco’s The Fee (La Cuota).

Gorostiaga (Juan D’Andre) and Torres (Luis Losardi) work for the building manager. They kidnap Julio and Marcos and accuse them of infractions of building rules. Things will get tougher for all four men because something or some things are creeping around the subterranean parking area.

Juan Falco and Juan Denari’s screenplay works on multiple levels. There’s some social satire going on here that may have some elements to it lost on viewers who are not up to speed on current events in Argentina, but Falco’s approach as a director doesn’t tip too heavily in that direction, so the short works on broader levels of appeal, as well. He keeps the story going at a well-paced clip.

Apartment tenants (including Juan Bautista Carreras) learn too late that something is amiss in their building.

Without going into spoiler territory, suffice it to say that some fun, interesting practical effects are on display in The Fee. The cast is solid, including Juan Denari in an engaging turn as an everyman horror movie fan caught up in a world he thought only existed on the screen.

You can watch The Fee now at https://vimeo.com/151436266.

The Fee: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.