Honeymoon (Luna de Miel) (2015)

honeymoonJorge kidnaps Isabel and keeps her in his basement hoping that some conditioning and Stendhal Syndrome will make her his.  Through torture and punishment, he tries to break her. The brutal story brought to the screen here is written by Marco Tarditi Ortega and directed by Diego Cohen.  Together they create a kidnapping story where the victim is brutalized, violated, and tortured in many varied ways.  The film brings an imaginative array of ways to make someone suffer and bleed.  The way it is shot is relentless, keeping the camera directly on what is happening to victim Isabel at the hands of her captor Jorge who is a medical doctor, giving him better knowledge on how to make her suffer without killing her.

He tortures her for most of the just over 90-minute runtime.  The character of Jorge is fairly well developed, especially compared with a lot of other torturers put to film.  He has a personality, a career, a reason for doing all of this; we even get a glimpse as to his past.  He is however, still not fully explained to keep some sort of mystery about him.  The character of Isabel, the victim, is a bit thinner, we know that she’s a runner and is married, but that is about all we find out.  What we know of her character is more on a mental level, that she’s a fighter that she doesn’t give up easily.  She’s strong, but Jorge may very well break her. These two lead characters are almost the only two on screen for the whole movie so their performances are of utmost importance.

Playing Jorge is Hector Kotsifakis who gives a cold quality to his character, playing him very straight forward and unflinching, even as he puts Isabel through some very painful and gross torture.  He stays mostly calm through it all, with Kotsifakis showing great control over his outward emotions.  Playing Isabel is Paulina Ahmed who shows different levels of fear and suffering very well and is an apt but not weak victim.  Her character doesn’t give up and this can be seen in her eyes.  She keeps a defiant gaze for most of her interactions with Kotsifakis’ Jorge.  She also gets to show a softer, more hopeful side in the dreams that calm her character’s mind and are possibly the only reason she stays sane.  In those dreams and in a few scenes, we get to see Isabel’s husband Pablo played by a concerned Alberto Agnesi who gets only a short total screen time but leaves an impression nonetheless.

Honeymoon’s torture scenes are not all bloody but some are very much so.  The special effects by Marina Alberro and Pablo Garcia with visual effects by David Guzman and Mauricio Meza are fantastic.  Their effects on a few scenes in particular look very realistic adding an unnerving quality to these scenes beyond the simple torture happening on screen.  Their blood usage is deliberate, plentiful when needed, and looks great on screen.

Helping with this look and the general feeling of dread and helping to make the process uncomfortable, the cinematography by Aram Diaz and the music by Uriel Villalobos keep the images direct and clear for the former and add a feeling of despair for the latter.

Honeymoon (Luna de Miel) is a brutal, uncomfortable watch.  It does fit under the torture porn umbrella very well as its main horror elements are torture and pain plain and simple.  It’s not an easy watch but definitely an effective one.  It creates discomfort, horror, dread, and a bit of gross-out which all adds up to lead the viewer to feeling dirty and unhappy.  Which, do not get this review wrong, is the goal.  It’s effective in its brutality and as a film about the torture of one woman, not unlike many predecessors and much like Martyrs, it leaves the viewer in a weird spot mentally after watching it.  It may not be as unrelenting and gory, but the effect is very similar and lasts after the film is turned off.