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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Review: I Am Toxic (Soy Tóxico)

Director: Pablo Parés

Screenplay: Pablo Parés, Paulo Soria y Daniel de la Vega

Year: 2021

Argentine cinema is not known for its contributions to the horror genre, but since the release of “Aterrados”, it has gained some attention. When I got notice of the existence of the movie that concerns us now, it got curious to know what else has been brewing in this country in the horror genre. I Am Toxic (Soy Tóxico) is not its best representative, but it gives good signals that Argentine horror is being serious. 

A man wakes up in the middle of a desert with no memory of how he ended up there. While he is trying to figure out what he is doing there, he is attacked by a zombie but quickly rescued by a man passing through, who tells him that the zombies are the result of a biological weapon. Now the man must find a way to survive the hostile environment, where the presence of zombies and the scarcity of resources are not all of his problems.

After rescuing him, the mysterious man takes him to his hideout, where he meets the rest of the group. Just when the man thought he was safe, he is attacked by the group, who tells him that he is turning into a dried one, no other thing than a zombie. The only woman in the group seems to not agree with the rest and helps him escape, which triggers a hunt between the man, the group, and the dried ones.

“I Am Toxic takes place in a dystopian future, with a style that can only be described as a crossover between “Mad Max” and “Resident Evil”, although the look of the dried ones reminded me more of the zombies in “Lucio Fulci’s Zombie”. The visual aspect is where this movie from director Pablo Parés stands out, where every image is carefully crafted to evoke a feeling of permanent filth and decay. Similarly, the camera tricks, special effects, and the makeup of the dried ones showcase clear attention to details and are effective, even when, in some cases, they are limited by the budget.

The story in Pablo Parés, Paulo Soria, and Daniel de la Vega’s screenplay is rather simple: a man tries to overcome an unfavorable situation to survive. This platform allows for introducing other topics, such as social commentary about how countries in the north treat countries in the south, racism, and sexism. They try to highlight this last one but fail to do so by reinforcing misogynistic behavior by the men and submission by the women. The ending attempts to solve this conflict but fails to deliver.

“I Am Toxic” presents a simple story where it shows a "Mad Max” style dystopian future combined with zombies. Its filthy and decayed style is the highlight of the movie, and it shows that there was careful attention to detail. On the other hand, it tries to establish some social commentary, and it doesn’t do a great work of proving its point.

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