The Last Matinee (2020) Film Review

The Last Matinee (2020), directed by Maximiliano Contenti | FEATURE FILM REVIEW

2.5 out of 5 stars

The Last Matinee (2020) is a gruesome homage to the retro American slasher and Italian giallo films. This Uruguay-Argentinian Spanish-language horror from director
Maximiliano Contenti is a stylish tribute sure to please fans of the genres.

THE LAST MATINEE is out now on VOD, Digital and DVD.

An homage to the slasher

Set on a rainy night in Montevideo 1993, The Last Matinee (2020) sees moviegoers head to the cinema to watch a horror film. However, the real horror is not on the screen; one by one the audience members of the sparsely filled cinema are brutally murdered by a black-gloved killer.

Characters play a perfunctory role

With the events of the film solely taking place over the span of its 1h 28min runtime, the viewer learns very little about the characters – there’s no backstory, no history reveals to indicate why the killer does what he does or what has brought him to this cinema.

Apart from the “Eye-Eater”, the projectionist’s daughter Ana (Luciana Grasso), who has taken over his role for the evening, is the central character of the film. While the script doesn’t allow for character development, Grasso gives an impressive performance.

For the majority of the other characters, apart from their untimely deaths, we see very little of them. The characters do not have time to develop but instead play perfunctory victim roles.

SPOILER: A fun Easter Egg of the film is the killer, played by Uruguayan filmmaker Ricardo Islas, who directed the film being screened in the cinema, Frankenstein: Day of the Beast (2011).

The Last Matinee (2020) Horror Movie
The Last Matinee (2020). Photo courtesy of DARK STAR PICTURES & BLOODY DISGUSTING.

Squeamish people beware

It goes without saying that a film which is a homage to slashers and Giallo is full of blood, gore, and more gore. The camera unflinchingly shows each character’s gruesome death, never cutting away as the various weapons he possesses pierce through flesh and bone. One double murder in particular will ensure you’ll never want to be distracted and kiss in a movie theater again.

While the gore is not lacking, one key aspect the film is missing is the all-important ‘jump scare’. The lack of heart-racing build up to the deaths means the viewer is never left half-hiding behind their hands before being jolted in their seat as the killer appears. This lack of suspense means the film doesn’t quite reach the levels of horror intended.

Style over substance?

Popular in the 60s and 70s, Italian giallo films had several recurring motifs – close ups of black gloves and of knives, intense colours, and set within opulent surroundings. All of these tropes are used again and again throughout this tribute. For fans of horror and thrillers, this creates a visually pleasing film which makes up for other places where the film is lacking.

The Last Matinee (2020) by Maximiliano Contenti
The Last Matinee (2020) by Maximiliano Contenti. Photo courtesy of DARK STAR PICTURES & BLOODY DISGUSTING.

It doesn’t stand out but is still worth a watch

The Last Matinee (2020) doesn’t stand out among others within its genre, but for fans of horror and gore it’s still an enjoyable and satisfying watch.