Angel Negro (2000)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 28, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 1.66:1 (Non-anamorphic). Spanish DD 2.0. English (Embedded) Subtitles. 93 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jorge Olguín
Starring: Álvaro Morales, Andrea Freund, Blanca Lewin, Juan Pablo Bastidas
Screenplay: Jorge Olguín
Country: Chile
AKA: Black Angel
Angel Negro, directed and written by Chilean Jorge Olguin (Sangre Enterna aka Eternal Blood), is a combination of slasher film, and Blair Witch Project styled faux cinema verite. This being Olguin's first movie, there is none of the smart-assed self referential rubbish that we, the horror fan have been forced to accept since the Scream films. This is fairly straight and not told with any sense of irony or satire.

The story goes that in 1990, after a night at their prom, tragedy struck a group of friends and one of them, Angel Cruz (Blanca Lewin) ended up dead. Gabriel Echeverria (Alvaro Morales) and his friends went their separate ways, never to speak of the incident again. Ten years later, Gabriel, now a forensic pathologist, finds himself standing in front of the corpse of one of the group, who has been murdered. Over the next few days, he encounters another murdered member of the group and is reunited with another old friend, Carolina (Andrea Freund), who was married to one of the victims, Miguel (Juan Pablo Bastidas). They decide they need to stick together, but with Gabriel having disturbing nightmares about Angel, they believe the killer must be very close…

Filmed very frankly, the scenes on the slab, whose accuracy can be attributed to Olguin's experience in an actual morgue situation, are treated with realism. The characters all enjoy development beyond cliché, and murder is seen as a messy violent bloody exercise. All credit should go to the writer/director for his excellent practices in making this film.

Unfortunately, the presentation for the DVD is not as clever. The subtitles appear to be written by a Spanish speaking person with English as a second language, and some times the actual sentences can take a second to decipher. They are also presented in white, which makes them, on occasion, hard to read. My other problem with this disc is not so much the movie, but the way in which it has been presented. Troma have treated a quite serious movie in the same way in which they present their more tongue in cheek and ridiculous movies such as Toxic Avenger and Chopper Chicks from Zombietown. I do not have a problem with Troma films, but there is a time and a place, and Angel Negro is more in tone to that of Tenebrae or Deep Red, than Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. This movie did not need the cavalcade of dumb Troma extras to get people to buy it, with the right marketing engine; this movie would have sold itself.

Average quality vision and not in the slightest re-mastered for DVD by Troma.
The audio, presented in stereo, of really average quality and is in Spanish. Don't expect the surround sound to get much of a go with this one.
Extra Features

You can choose to watch the director's commentary in either English or Spanish. Unfortunately, my Spanish is rusty, actually non-existent, and since no English subtitles were provided I could only review the English track. The English track is a translation by the Troma team of Jorge Olguin's original director's commentary. It is very stilted and sporadic, but offers a few insights into the making of this film.

The Class Re-Union section has a few extras in it. Including:

The Making of Angel Negro, which is a promotional fluff piece about the director with snippets of behind the scenes footage.

Jorge at Fantasia is a five minute interview by Lloyd Kaufmann with the director and his translator.

There are two trailers for Angel Negro, one in Spanish and one in English.

The Troma Radiation March features on this DVD…again. This nonsensical 1 minute dance sequence seems to be a protest against pollution, but comes of as a stupid parody of street theatre.

Angel's Classmates is a list of the team from Troma.

Tromatic Stuff is advertisements (more shameless self promotion) for Troma .com and Kaufmann's Make Your Own Damn Movie book and DVD collection.

The Verdict
A pretty good movie let down by REALLY bad subtitling and a shockingly presented disc. Still, it is worth a watch.
Movie Score
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