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.
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.
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 / 5)