After a mysterious accident on kilometer 31, Agata falls into a coma. Her twin sister Catalina telepathically feels her pain and hears her whispering for help. Together with her boyfriend Nuno and Agata's mate Omar, they return to kilometer 31 of the road. Soon, they discover that the place is surrounded by supernatural accidents caused by the ghost of a mother who lost her son many years ago. Catalina then finds out that Agata's spirit is trapped between the world of the living and the dead.
As if you don’t already know that driving on the roads can be a killer, here’s a movie that reminds you to keep your eyes on the road all the time. Lest you end up like Agata, running over a half-naked boy who dashes in front of your vehicle faster than you can say “Ju-On!”
This Mexican horror Kilometro 31 holds the dubious honour of being the country’s highest grossing genre film and it’s not hard to see why. It looks and feels very much like a Hollywood production, except with its own infusion of Mexican folklore- based as it is on the local legend of the “Crying Woman” or “la Llorona”, as well as popular local tales about highway ghosts.
Indeed, there are many elements in this movie that appear borrowed from other horror movies- the most obvious being that of the ghostly boy that bears an uncanny resemblance to Toshio from the Ju-On series. But writer/director Rigoberto Castañeda has somehow managed to put a uniquely enough Mexican spin to keep things fresh.
Not only that, he has also crafted a technically competent and well-cast film that rises above the average B-grade horror (which is probably the impression its tacky movie poster, and this DVD’s cover, gives you). Yet while Kilometro 31 is admirable in its efforts, it actually turns out just average- because interesting though its idea may be, Castañeda’s feature film debut is let down by a mediocre story that ends on an almost frustrating note.
Certainly, one expects more surprises along the way as Agata’s twin sister Catalina attempts to unravel the truth behind what happened to Agata or the rest of the women who died at precisely mile marker 31 on the remote highway. Instead, the story unfolds as predictably as one-two-three. What’s more disappointing is how Castañeda tries to end the movie on a special-effects ridden climax that unfortunately doesn’t make much sense at all.
What promise Kilometro 31 had at the start for being a uniquely Mexican horror was hence squandered by an all-too middling execution. Though Castañeda may have borrowed many stylistic elements from other horror classics, he would have done more if he had learnt their art of developing a good story as well.
Still, if there’s one lesson I’ve learnt from Kilometro 31, it’s this- don’t stop if you think you’ve run someone over on a desolate stretch of road. For one, there’s probably no one around to see you. For another, whoever (or whatever) you thought you ran over probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Just a Making Of featurette that is really more like a 20-minute series of interviews with the cast and crew. Not in the remotest bit interesting.
Picture’s decent enough but the Dolby 2.0 audio leaves much to be desired. You need to crank up your volume to hear the dialogue and even the almost nonexistent sound effects during the requisite scary scenes.
Review by Gabriel Chong