Blu-ray Review: The Squad

Adam RuhlMiscellaneousLeave a Comment

Scream Factory is once again releasing a slew of horror treats just in time for Halloween and their latest on Blu-ray is The Squad (or El Paramo). This Columbian military horror film has been making a slow journey to disc, having been shot back in 2011. It did play Fantastic Fest 2011 with writer/director Jaime Osorio Marquez in attendance, but that predates me attending the festival so I saw the film for the very first time on Blu. Let’s take a look:

squad

The Squad

The Film:

A squad of Columbian soldiers is sent to investigate why they lost contact with a remote outpost (located in what the disc case describes as the ‘desolate wastelands of Columbia’. I find this a harsh judgment of the country; the outpost appears to be on a foresty, albeit foggy, mountaintop). They of course suspect guerrilla attack and the presence of mines seems to reinforce this idea. Instead they find the base abandoned with nothing missing and a single bound woman who’s been sealed up behind a wall.

I love the atmosphere of the film; it is foggy, morbid, and thick with tension and existential dread. The soldiers all look the part and show a mix of impatience and macho that you know is going to boil over when faced with a puzzle they cannot resolve. I would describe the film as the first part of Predator crossed with The Keep. Fair warning, much like The Keep, this film’s plot absolutely crawls. Very little action and a whole lot of guys milling about as the mystery unravels. Have patience though, I found this to be a satisfying and terrifying story of madness.

The Disc:

The picture quality is good though I did see some small glitches in the playback. That may just be the copy I was given but they were noticeable. The special features are with just a ‘making of’ and the theatrical trailer. The cover has pretty cool variant picture of what was used in the original poster and the inside sleeve has a scene from the film.

The Features:

The Making of “The Squad” Featurette

Theatrical Trailer

 

The Specs:

1080p Hi-Def widescreen 2.35:1

DTS-HD Master Audio

Spanish-only Audio & English-Subtitles

Original Release: 2011

Runtime: 100 minutes

Not Rated

 

Final Grades:

Story: B- / Intriguing, but not quite enough original elements.

Presentation quality: B / few features and some buggy picture.

Scare factor: C+ / More creeping, less jumps.

Gore Factor: B / People killed mostly by familiar military hardware.

Repeat view-ability: B+ / You’ll like it better if you like horror and war films.

 

The Squad is available on October 21st, Pre-order HERE!

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Adam RuhlBlu-ray Review: The Squad