Low on incident but way off the scale when it comes to atmosphere and tension, The Squad is a very worthy addition to that sub-genre, the military horror film.

I must admit, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for any film that combines war-weary soldiers coming up against forces beyond their control, whether it be in the likes of The Bunker, Korea’s R-Point, or even the US Civil-War set The Killing Box (has anyone else seen that?)

In fact, one of my dreams is to pen a supernatural horror flick set in the British Civil War, but I fear that may never happen.

Anyhow, back to the matter at hand, and Jaime Osorio Marquez’s Colombian effort, which throws a ragtag bunch of troops into the firing line of evil.

The set-up is pretty straightforward – a military outpost has lost contact with the outside world, which leads to the titular ‘Squad’ being sent in to find out just what has happened.

When they arrive at the misty location, they not only find a host of dead bodies, but also some logbooks and documents that detail the previous occupants’ battle with what they considered a witch.

Things take a murky turn when this ‘witch’ is then uncovered alive and well (and still on the base), and before you can say ‘psychological meltdowns’, the soldiers are at each others throats as paranoia takes over.

There is very little else to go on here, but The Squad really does hammer home just what can be done with even the simplest of premises, if it is done well.

And boy does Marquez deliver the goods, from coaxing a series of excellent performances from his ensemble cast, through to generating a tremendous feeling of unease with a washed out colour scheme and copious amounts of fog and mist.

This really is where the film scores highly, as Marquez’s cranking up of the tension factor keeps you on the edge of your seat, even if not much is actually going on before your eyes.

Special mention must also go to a cracking score which increases the fear factor even more, and a final pay-off shot that still gives me goosebumps thinking about it a day or so later.

Due to be it being a subtitled movie, I think I can safely say this will not get the audience it deserves, but I urge all horror fans to try and track this one down.

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.