Directed by Jaume Balagueró [Other horror films: Darkness (2002), Frágiles (2005), Películas para no dormir: Para entrar a vivir (2006), [Rec] (2007), [Rec]² (2009), Mientras duermes (2011), [REC] 4: Apocalipsis (2014), Muse (2017)]
Known as The Nameless to American audiences, this independent Spanish flick seems to be going for the bleak feel of movies like Se7en, which came out just four years prior. Unfortunately, while it succeeds in that endeavor, I don’t think I got much more out of this one.
In itself, the plot is pretty interesting, working itself like a solid mystery movie with occasionally rather gory scenes. I enjoyed the inclusion of the cult, but I don’t think they were particularly explained as well as they could have been, which is where a lot of my problems with this come from.
The main cast, being just two people, work decently well together. Emma Vilarasau acts way too hysterically at times, but given what her character’s going through, that could probably be excused. Karra Elejalde (who, in 2007, starred in the somewhat fun Los cronocrimenes, or Timecrimes) did well here as a retired detective, and I think he stood out because of his mostly unassuming look. Though he had just a single scene, Carlos Lasarte (who appeared later in the [Rec] films) was rather creepy, and gave off a Tim Curry vibe. No one else really stood out in one way or the other.
Parts of the plot didn’t work for me, mostly revolving around the aforementioned cult. I liked the ending, but it was pretty obvious from the get-go that this movie wouldn’t end in sunshine and daisies. Aspects of why the cult went after children, though, didn’t really seem to have a good explanation. Part of this may be the fact that the version of this movie I own on DVD is dubbed, and dubbed horribly. I rather dislike dubbed versions of foreign films, and given how badly this one was, it stood out very negatively. That possibly could have obfuscated some of the message that this movie was going for.
Still, Los sin nombre does have an interesting feel to it. Some pretty violent scenes, some involving children, and a good ending despite it’s expected nature. The problem is some parts don’t do it for me. I did happen to like this more this time around than when I first saw it, but I still find it quite a below average film. Director Jaume Balaguero later went on to direct the flawed Darkness, but also some better films, such as [Rec], so at least his later attempts were more solid.
Many people enjoy this movie, some calling it a lesser-known classic. I’ve seen it twice, and I just don’t get it. Portions are pretty good, especially for a movie of this independent a feel, but until I find a subtitled version (and chances are, that might not help as much as I hope), this isn’t a movie I’d care to see a third time.