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WELCOME TO HELL (aka BIENVENIDOS AL INFIERNO, 2021)
Directed by Jimena Monteoliva.
Written by Camilo De Cabo.
Starring Costanza Cardillo, Demián Salomón, Marta Lubos, William Prociuk, Emiliano Carrazzone, Miguel Angel Vigna, Andres Loreti, Desiree Du Val, Lalo Rotaveria, Lupe Lombardozzi
A young Argentinian girl named Lucia (Costanza Cardillo) gets involved with the lead singer of a Death Metal band named Christian (Demián Salomón). After she becomes pregnant with his child, Lucia realizes that the band has horrible intentions for her and her baby. When she flees their flop house and returns home to her Abuela (Marta Lubos), the band eventually finds her and lays siege on their home. Now Lucia and her Abuela must battle alone against devil worshiping rockers out for a sacrifice.
WELCOME TO HELL is a dank and filthy little movie. It takes place in impoverished places, where there seems to be very little for anyone to look forward to or take inspiration from. The settings are decrepit and dismal and the band and their actions are equally off-putting. I have to say, WELCOME TO HELL really makes you hate the antagonists. They are the worst kind of people, abusing Lucia and anyone they encounter all in order to achieve some type of reward for their evil actions. This is an extremely dour film, one where even those who survive are cursed. It’s definitely not the feel good horror film of the year, but it is one effective home invasion/devil worshipping Death Metal horror flick.
Shining bright in the middle of all of this muck is Costanza Cardillo, who plays Lucia. She is bright eyed and hopeful, pressing forward, even then everything seems to be against her. There’s a very subtle arc Lucia takes where she develops an understanding and love for her Abuela, who is mute, yet leaves her inspirational messages tacked up all over their meager home. Seeing the two of them repair and reform their relationship after Lucia has obviously gone through a rebellious stage in her life redeems the story and gives a vague sign of hope. Cardillo is stunning as the very pregnant Lucia, still fighting tooth and nail to save herself, her abuela, and her child. Though she doesn’t have a single line, Marta Lubos is wonderful as the stoic abuela, even though her resemblance to Willem Dafoe distracted me a bit.
Man, I hated this band. While I’m not a fan of nor do I hate Death Metal, this band is simply a bunch of bullying scumbags and I couldn’t wait to see them get their comeuppance at the hands of Lucia and her Abuela. They’re grimy, unhinged, and truly despicable villains. I felt a visceral hate towards them because of how cruel and callous they are while tormenting a pregnant woman and her elderly grandmother. I guess that makes them great villains, but I honestly clapped and laughed with joy as the met their makers in the climax.
While I feel the film itself sort of glamorized the rock star lifestyle of the band in some weird way, WELCOME TO HELL is definitely the film you want to show your teenage daughter as a cautionary tale to stay away from bad dudes. Director Jimena Monteoliva contrasts the innocence of Lucia with the band’s viciousness deftly, making the whole film unsettling to watch–like a predator playing with its prey before eating it. The gore is excessive, but not over the top. There’s lots of it, but things are played pretty real, making the deaths resonate all the more. While I feel the decisions made in the final act are a bit of a tonal shift, I was satisfied with how WELCOME TO HELL ended up. This is an especially gnarly movie, one not for the squeamish. But it is an effective story about an innocent fighting off the blackest of souls. I don’t know if I was prepared for WELCOME TO HELL but it sure to left a mark after viewing.