Errementari follows a blacksmith who must recapture a demon he had been keeping contained within his secluded cabin. After the demon is released by a young girl, he must capture the demon while also avoiding the local villagers who are blaming him for the disappearance of the young girl.
There's something I can't quite put my finger on with this movie...and it's probably because it's a foreign film and I lack the necessary worldly knowledge to divulge the intricacies of its plot and characters. There's something I'm probably failing to grasp, and perhaps even more that I'm mistaking for failure...yet I can't help but feel that this movie falls into a sub-category of horror critique I like to categorize as "Gimmick Gore".
Gimmick Gore, as I call it, is a subset of horror films I view as being constructed from the inside out. A lot of the most entertaining horror has great effects work, either in its kills or its villains/creatures. But, as a major obstacle, many horror films don't have the budget for high-end traditional effects work as it exists today. So horror creators have to find avenues and methods to take a budget to the limit. While this would rarely be the case, if ever, sometimes it feels like a movie is built around its effects method. As in, someone found a creative and effective way to make a particular creature effect, so they made a story around it. These types of films tend to have a cluster of great horror/action sequences and little else. That's the way Errementari made me feel.
The demon design, as evidenced by the image above, is very well done, and it is surrounded by a set and characters that feel inspired by Guillermo del Toro. The demon, the blacksmith's home, the blacksmith's armor and mask...it's all unique and creative. And that's about where the fun ends.
I'm not a fan of dubbed movies. I think the voice acting, in general, is abysmal and takes you out of the impact of the characters. Frankly, you could be seeing great performances, but hearing disjointed, monotone voices and think you're watching something terrible. This film delivers in that way. Subtitles is almost always the way to go, as the translation, in general, is better, and you can hear the actors convey their roles as they were intended.
Speaking of intention...I'm not fully sure what the atmosphere of this movie was supposed to be. It is mostly dark fantasy, again, reminiscent of del Toro, but it lacks consistency in its approach to the dark material. At times it's too goofy and silly and ridiculous. Yet, it feels so serious in its artificial tension that I'm genuinely concerned that I'm either missing a punchline or failing to be engaged in the graveness of the situation.
Overall, I appreciate the visuals and style of the film, but the plot feels disjointed and the characters drab. It lacks the magic of, say, Pan's Labyrinth, and the stakes of something like Night Watch. It's something awkwardly in between that inevitably misses the mark for me.