“Romina” by Diego Cohen is a true red herring of bad movies of 2018. Unusual, remarkable pile of crap.
When I see that the director of a film is also its executive producer, writer and even composer (!), I can’t stop myself from sniffing a disaster.
The plot of “Romina” is as generic as a slasher’s plot can get. A bunch of stoner adolescents pack in a van and drive to chill in the woods. Obviously, something has to go wrong. Because it always does.
Diego Cohen marks a promising kick-off in “Romina”.
An uneasy, almost catatonic girl is interviewed about numerous killings in the woods and asked to describe her recollections in every detail.
Just when she catches the first breath, the scene cuts to her stopping a car in the middle of nowhere. She’s covered in blood, panting. Then our view is attached to a car that drifts away from the crime scene. Several cop cars pass by in the opposite direction. We see a huge, white font announcing “Romina”.
Cold, interesting start.
If I could I would have ended the film right there.
I’d stop right before the moment, when the director-screenwriter-producer-composer Diego Cohen goes completely berserk. The very next scene is a mumblecore, almost ten minutes long sequence in a stuffy car, when the audience is verbally raped by six people trying to scream their lines out at each other. Even Tommy Wiseau understood the grandeur of silence in cinema.
The mystery revolves around one girl called – you guessed it – Romina, who is not among the teens in the car, but is presumably going to join the pack. Surprisingly, she’s already at the camping site, but nobody’s eager for talking to her. What’s more, there is something awfully wrong about her. Like flashing her naked body a couple of times in the film.
I’ll stop describing the plot now, because the rest would be a massive spoiler.
But trust me when I say that the plot is probably the least of things I can spoil. Have you seen “House Of Wax”? “Evil Dead”? “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”? Or any other slasher in the history? If the answer is yes, then you’re aware that script is literally the least of anybody’s concern.
In only 75 minutes, Diego Cohen packs enough bad filmmaking to bless several other movies. He does so completely unapologetically, as if he believes “Romina” is actually an indie gem.
Let me begin with the atrocious cinematography.
Every time the director zooms on a face of any of the characters, he performs a camera “trademark” move, slightly turning it to the open sky or Mother Nature’s landscape. It’s repeated a dozen times in the film and each iteration makes you laugh harder.
It’s as if there’s no other way to end a scene.
The camera work is generally “Romina”‘s great malfunction.
It shakes, it loses the actors and catches them making primary-school mistakes like “did that dead body just move?” (It actually happens, right in the beginning of the film). However, Cohen believes in his skills – enough to keep these kitschy bits in the final version of the film.
Then, there are the clueless actors. First of all, the cacophony that these actors create is unbearable. None of their jabber makes sense – even if you understand Spanish. For the most part, they scream.
There is no character development either, because they all just constitute fodder meat for Cohen. The director-screenwriter-producer-composer emphasises it by showing their dead bodies at the very beginning of “Romina”. A meat that can’t even remain dead when they are killed.
As if this wasn’t enough, Cohen is so flippantly vigorous about his film that he ends it with a twist. A twist, which doesn’t make sense and ends with… a camera moving to view the Mother Nature again.
One thing that’s still boggling my mind is how in the hell did “Romina” become a Netflix’s purchase. If masterpieces like “Romina” land a contract, I’m seriously beginning to think about pursuing a similar career.
Dir. Diego Cohen
Hate Grade: 9.5/10