High­way to hell

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

KM 31/KILÓMETRO 31 Di­rected by Rigob­erto Cas­tañeda. Star­ring Iliana Fox, Adrià Col­lado

16 cert, Cineworld, Dublin, 103 min

AL­THOUGH the film is fformed as a ghost story, the open­ing of Km 31 claims that it is “based on real events”. That proves as hard to swal­low as the film it­self, a Mex­i­can pro­duc­tion heav­ily in­flu­enced by, and shar­ing sev­eral vis­ual mo­tifs with, such re­cent Ja­panese hor­ror movies as Dark Wa­ter, The Grudge and The Ring.

The film opens ar­rest­ingly as Agata (Iliana Fox) is driv­ing along a de­serted high­way on the out­skirts of Mex­ico City by night, and cry­ing af­ter an ar­gu­ment with her boyfriend Omar. When what seems to be a child flashes across her path in a blur, Agata stops her car, gets out and is run over by an­other driver. In a house nearby, her iden­ti­cal twin sis­ter Catalina (also played by Fox) tele­path­i­cally senses Agata’s fate.

Km 31 takes its ti­tle from the sign­post at the point in the high­way where this in­ci­dent oc­curs. The area is re­vis­ited as Catalina tries to com­pre­hend what hap­pened while she hears screams of help from her sis­ter, who is in a coma.

Omar of­fers his as­sis­tance, as does Catalina’s long-time Span­ish friend Nuno. A gruff de­tec­tive con­tin­ues his ob­ses­sive quest to solve a se­ries of mys­te­ri­ous deaths at the site. There are rev­e­la­tions of sib­ling ri­valry be­tween the twin sis­ters in child­hood and its tragic con­se­quences. And a strange el­derly wo­man, who lives in woods off the high­way, re­lates a lo­cal leg­end.

Writer and di­rec­tor Rigob­erto Cas­tañeda ex­hibits a flair for the genre and for con­jur­ing omi­nous im­agery and at­mos­phere, but the film is un­der­mined by the sheer fa­mil­iar­ity of re­cur­ring shots of fleet­ing furtive fig­ures from its Ja­panese coun­ter­parts.

Most dis­ap­point­ingly, Km 31 is short on sus­pense and proves none too scary or un­set­tling, de­spite the fris­sons gen­er­ated in the spooky es­tab­lish­ing scenes.

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