23rd Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘I Am Toxic’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Esteban Prol, Horacio Fontova, Sergio Podelei, Gastón Cocchiarale, Fini Bocchino, Verónica Intile | Written by Daniel de la Vega, Pablo Parés, Paulo Soria | Directed by Daniel de la Vega, Pablo Parés


Directed by Daniel de la Vega (Dead End) and Pablo Parés (Plaga Zombie), this Spanish language film, called Soy tóxico in it’s native Argentina, was also penned by the two directors along with Paulo Soria. It’s a story of a man lost in a world of death and impending doom, fighting and running for his life.

I was very curious about this movie, and I was right to be. It’s a very peculiar film, and there are some incredibly unique and bizarre things going on.

I Am Toxic starts with a lost man waking up in a pile of bones and dead bodies and he appears to be out in the middle of nowhere. He doesn’t appear to remember anything, including who he is. He quickly discovers an infection zombie-looking husk of a thing feasting on human flesh. He is attacked by one of these infected creatures, but is saved by a mysterious man who drives him to safety. We discover that these infected things are labelled “dries” and are the result of hunger from a bacteriological war. Now wandering this sandy starved wasteland, the lost man, who is given the name Dog by the man who saved him and a couple of other survivors he meets, which include a young girl and three men, he has to try to survive this bizarre new world he has found himself in.

At only 75 minutes in length, I Am Toxic doesn’t waste any time in setting things up and letting them play out. The pace works really well for the story, and I liked how things progressed nice and fast. The film looks great. It’s dry and dirty, bloody and grey. The post-apocalyptic landscape that de la Vega and Parés accomplished looks splendidly grim. It’s impressive, visually, for sure… but how does the story work out? Well… I though the story was a lot of fun too. There’s a Fury Road edge to things yet it feels very original, with some very peculiar things going on. Facundo Nuble’s cinematography is very good indeed, and Cecilia Castro deserved a big pat on the back for the pretty damn exceptional production design and art direction.

The performances, especially that of Esteban Prol who plays “Dog” (or variations of that word) in the film. His bewilderment and fear, his drive to survive, is all realised in this impassioned performance that upped the quality of the while film. He’s top notch. The rest of the cast, especially the wild men who torture, humiliate, demean and frighten Dog, are great loose-cannon antogonists when they’re on-screen, offering a humanistic villainy that is very different to the “dries” who creepily and facelessly attempt to feed on whatever and whomever they come across.

A gritty look and mood, wonderful set design and cool costume work, and some high quality performances pull the somewhat shallow story into a higher position. The plot itself, while thin, is still very enjoyable and with the imaginative and apocalyptically brooding imagery, it looks bloody great. A futuristic horror tale full of blood, dust and steel, I am Toxic (Soy tóxico) is a delightfully dark film that has a lot going for it.

**** 4/5

I Am Toxic screened at this years Arrow Video Frightfest on Friday August 23rd 2019.


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