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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

watch it: “Ataque de Pánico! (Panic Attack!) 2009”


It’s gonna be Neill Blomkamp and District 9 all over again, or at least that’s the hope. Sez Ben Child at the Guardian Film blog:

[I]t’s pretty hard to ignore someone like Federico Alvarez, who has just been picked up by Sam Raimi’s production company Ghost House, for a $1m deal. The Uruguayan film-maker’s short film, Panic Attack!… was shot for a staggering $200, despite featuring the kind of stupendous special effects work which Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay would be proud of. Nobody seems quite sure whether this will be a feature-length version of the shorter film, or something new, but one can imagine the Hollywood money men rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of an explosive blockbuster about giant robot invaders from outer space shot for a couple of peanuts and a bit of old rope.

District 9 was, as you may remember, based on Blomkamp’s short film “Alive in Jo’burg.”

Yahoo! Movies has more scoop on the Panic Attack feature:

The picture will be a sci-fi thriller set in Argentina and Uruguay. In case you’re hoping to see the feature-length version of “Panic Attack!” in a movie theater, it won’t be from this deal. The newly minted “it” guy says he will start from scratch.

I have to confess that I’m not terribly enthused by all this. The short is interesting only in that it was produced on such a tiny budget, but it’s nothing more than a demonstration of FX. There’s no story there, no scenario, no characters, no hint of anything unique or original — unlike “Alive in Jo’burg.” FX are not story. I hope Alvarez knows this (I think it’s safe to say that Raimi does), or else we’re gonna end up not with another Neill Blomkamp but another Michael Bay, which we certainly do not need.

(h/t reader Keith via email)



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  • Keith

    Thank you, Maryann. Yes, let’s hope Alvarez has more up his sleeve than just special effects set pieces. There is an abundance of that these days. The effects should support a good story, not the other way around.

  • Oh hey, anyone who throws in an Odessa Steps homage can’t be all that bad. :)

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