The military-horror genre is a tricky nut to crack. Reducing hardened combatants to blubbering wrecks is an effective way of fostering fear in an audience, but there’s always a niggling feeling that war is horrific enough without the need to lay on, say, ghosts (2004 K-horror R-Point) or undead Nazis (a perennial favourite, appearing in 2008’s Outpost amongst others). The Squad does a better job than most at reconciling conflict’s grisly realities with a supernatural undertow, chiefly by keeping its cards close to its chest.
The squad of the title are anti-guerrilla forces in the mountains of Columbia, wrestling with suspected curses and their own consciences after discovering scenes of slaughter at a remote garrison. Director Jaime Osorio Marquez lets fog-bound isolation and inter-unit tensions ratchet up an ominous atmosphere, and though the soldiers’ respective fates feel somewhat inconsequential due to broad-stroke characterisation (the superstitious one, the nervous one, and so on), their grim and gory discoveries are memorably staged.
Out 18th June