– By Antony Thomas
I’m going to avoid a sententious rant interspersed with homilies about how horror has disappeared up its own euphemistic arsehole in a CGI-bathed feast of self-devouring tat, and proclaim that this short movie is good. Spanish (and by reference, Hispanic) movies usually exist through layers of understated black humour and developing horror subtleties. Good Spanish, Mexican and Argentinian directors push us into deeper waters where undertows drag us through dark places as the horrible situation that confronts us starts to uncoil before our eyes. One thinks immediately of Rec, Wild Tales and the sublime La Cabina as examples of unfolding storylines punctuated with creative lighting, dense evolving situations and imaginative characterisations of normal people who morph along timelines into blemished states of being.
Artificial occupies this space as a story on cloning humans to create perfect doppelgangers for sinister corporate purposes never really explained. Gorka Otxoa plays Xavier, a young man who’s interviewed in a high-rise office by an older businessman [a fine performance by the late Aitor Mazo] on behalf of a shadowy organisation known as CORPSA and offered 80,000 euros to provide some of his DNA and then take a short-term mind-erasing capsule. What he doesn’t know is that he has already been selected.