12th Mar2015

‘Hooked Up’ Review

by Joel Harley

Stars: Jonah Ehrenreich, Júlia Molins, Stephen Ohl, Natascha Wiese | Written and Directed by Pablo Larcuen

hooked-up-poster

A dark, loud, found footage horror film set in a Barcelona apartment block at night. No, not that one – with not a fireman in sight, on a lads’ holiday following a bad breakup, two awful young Americans hook up with girls in a bar and retire to a creepy old apartment block for sex. It’s all fun and games until someone ends up bleeding from the balls.

A film which starts out with one of its characters vomiting into a toilet for a good five minutes, Hooked Up is resolutely hard to like. Its two leads are a terrible pair, one being a borderline rapist, the other a violent creep who struggles to hold his booze and makes far too many hand gestures when he gets stressed. Tonio acts like Jay from The Inbetweeners and has a disgusting moustache (think Michael Cera in Youth in Revolt) while Peter is like a whinier Channing Tatum. The first fifteen to twenty minutes of Hooked Up are almost unbearable, like an even more unsavoury Hostel. Once the film’s horror gets properly underway, however, its dodgy foundations are quickly forgotten.

What Hooked Up has going for it, in addition to some surprisingly decent action, is the distinction of being the first horror film made entirely via iPhone [depending on who you ask - Editor]. As a concept, this stretches the ‘why are they still filming?’ bit to breaking point, but the strength of the shocks and its story sustain the conceit through to its end. Director Pablo Larcuen handles the action and the scares with a deft touch, his [REC] inspirations serving him well. He has a great villain in his spirit of vengeance – a rape victim who lures foolish men (and occasionally women, in the case of one poor drunken soul) to their doom, where she transforms into a stabby masked creature capable of surviving great trauma and appearing where you least expect it, Jason Voorhees style.

What starts out as a run-of-the-mill found footage horror film spent with exceptionally terrible people transforms into something much better in this impressively blunt and nasty feature. It’ll take a while to get there, but once the screaming starts, this one should have its viewers hooked.

*** 3/5

Hooked Up is released on VOD on April 7th from Uncork’d Entertainment. THe film hits DVD, in the UK, on April 27th courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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