Archivo 253: Film Review
Paranormal investigators encounter terrifying events in an abandoned asylum.
'There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.'- Alfred Hitchcock
Four amateur paranormal investigators break into an abandoned insane asylum which is surrounded by high walls and covered in dense brush. It's locked up tight and tucked away from the world, forgotten by the city. As the foursome settle in for the night, the inexplicable begins to occur.
After an initial investment of $35,000, the found footage paranormal horror film The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999, grossing an estimated $250,000,000. Although it was not the first in this genre of film, it was certainly the most successful, and we've been plagued by pale imitators ever since.
Featuring that sickly green infrared camera footage that's been in a million different paranormal films and TV programs, and flashlight beams searching the darkness of a decaying building illuminating very little, Archivo 253 is a 2015 horror film from Mexico that more than once conjures memories of the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project. Shot in handheld shaky cam, it's difficult to see the action, as the hospital it's being filmed in is engulfed in almost complete darkness. The camera often cuts away to the cast's faces in extreme closeup, some mysterious paranormal action, or more darkness. Although convincingly acted, there's isn't an awful lot in the way of characterization in Archivo 253, so I wasn't particularly concerned when characters disappeared and reappeared throughout the film. Much of the dialogue consists of attempting to communicate to spirits through EMF detectors, and the answers the characters are looking for are ambiguous and doesn't seem to forward the plot. The film takes an ominous turn when the crew finds a small shrine of animal bones in a basement and piles of hair strewn about, but much like the plot of The Blair Witch Project, the paranormal events in Archivo 253 inexplicably happen with little to no explanation but to better effect in the 1999 film.
After the third act, I suddenly started to wonder why the crew doesn't just leave, and then more dimly lit stuff happens, but it's hard to see because it's dimly lit. I can certainly tell you without spoiling anything that the dimly lit stuff that occurs is screaming and running.
As Hitchcock said above, there is no terror in the bang, but a horror film needs a bang, and there isn't one in Archivo 253. I half-heartedly recommending Archivo 253 since it has a creepy vibe and a couple of decent jump scares. You could do worse as far as paranormal found footage films go.