Two best f(r)iends spend the holidays together in Óscar Martín’s darkly comedic thriller Amigo. Played by Javier Botet (Crimson Peak) and David Pareja, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Martín, Amigo is a What Ever Happened To Baby Jane-esque tale of a dependent trapped under the cruel watchful eye of a caregiver that used to be their closest friend in the world. And aren’t the holidays all about spending time with the ones we love? Even the ones that drive us mad and make us welcome the sweet relief of death?
Shot in just over a week from a screenplay that weaves in personal details and aspects of the performer’s real-world lives, Amigo is a tight, confined little chamber piece about that fold in elements of cabin fever, rivalries, and seasonal depression. Which is to say that our two leads go from melancholy besties to bitter enemies over the course of a few short weeks in a remote cabin home.
It’s always a delight to see physical actor Javier Botet without 100 pounds of prosthetics and makeup on his skeletal frame. Sure, I would love nothing more than to have a brand-new ghost or goblin or supernatural monster movie with Botet behind the mask, but he’s a brilliant actor and his “dramatic” work is just as impressive as his more ghoulish roles. If you’re still unconvinced after Amigo, I highly encourage you to seek out the 2017 thriller Two Pigeons (also known as Freehold in some markets) which will have you checking your locks and looking under the bed again like a scared 6-year-old.
Botet’s Javi in Amigo is almost entirely bedridden but, thankfully, his old friend David has selflessly offered to become his live-in caregiver. Javi isn’t exactly happy about the whole situation. Heck, he isn’t very happy to be alive but, like it or not, he must rely on David to feed him, clean him, and keep him company. Before long, David and Javi are pushed to their limits and they both begin to show each other a darker side of themselves.
Nightmare imagery and deadly suspicion help sharpen the edges of this buddy drama and morph it into something a little more palatable for the average horror fan. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to call the movie scary, it isn’t without a tense moment or two that really highlights the helplessness of Javi at the hands of a man that might be slowly losing his mind.
The “horrors” of Amigo come a little late in the game for me, personally, but it’s only so that we’re given enough time to understand the relationship David and Javi have shared for so long. The film’s quirky personality does eventually make an appearance for a sickly sweet finale. It comes after a lengthy stretch of Elevated Horror’s tried-and-true sequences but it’s Botet’s and Pareja’s performances that keep things moving. And, hey, during a time of year when every movie on television (and now streaming) is a bright-lit, overly-optimistic fable about friends and family, it’s always nice to see a story that wants to twist those painfully pleasant holiday traditions into something sick and twisted.
“…it’s always nice to see a story that wants to twist those painfully pleasant holiday traditions into something sick and twisted.”
Óscar Martín’s Amigois now playing in select North American theatres and will be available digitally early 2023. Let us know if you’re excited to check out this dark buddy comedy, and what you would do if you discovered that your best friend was maybe trying to kill you, over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Heck, follow Nightmare on Film Street on TikTok for more horror movie recommendations while you’re at it.
Nightmare imagery and deadly suspicion help sharpen the edges of this buddy drama and morph it into something a little more palatable for the average horror fan. The film's quirky personality does eventually make an appearance for a sickly sweet finale. It comes after a lengthy stretch of Elevated Horror's tried-and-true sequences but it's Botet's and Pareja's performances that keep things moving.
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