The Nameless

Starring: Karra Elejalde and Emma Vilarasau
Altra Films
RRP: 14.99
Certificate: 18
Available 11 September 2006

The body of a missing little girl is discovered horribly burned and mutilated, in a derelict and abandoned building which used to be a clinic which treated her leg. The girl's father identifies the body, aided by a bracelet with the girl's name on. Now, five years later, the parents are separated, the father having moved to London. Claudia, the mother, is feeling morose and vulnerable around the anniversary of the girl's death, and is further astounded to receive a phone call from what sounds like her little girl, trying to convince her mother that the body wasn't her and she is still alive. She contacts the police detective who had her daughter's case. He has left the force but, intrigued, he joins Claudia in attempting to uncover a cult which dates back to Nazi Germany. But what do they want with the girl? And is she really still alive...?

Curiously, there's no explanation as to what the Nameless were actually trying to achieve, and what "synthesis" involved, except the very vague inference that they were corrupting or experimenting on small children. The only thing that effectively comes across in the telling is the revelation that these are really bad people!

That simply isn't good enough for cinema audiences or DVD viewers. We don't even get to realise whether or not this is a supernatural occurrence. A character is killed by a group of people who converge on him in a room and then simply disappear - or at least are immediately forgotten about in the story.

I don't know about Nameless; Hopeless would be more accurate. We are cheated every step of the way by direction which has no real structure, and is significantly more suggestive than revealing. In other words, there's little substance. There's practically no explanation for anything that happens - not that anything very exciting does. The ending is a cop-out (literally!) and we are left disappointed at the lack of explanation. So many unanswered questions. I haven't read the Ramsey Campbell book this film is based on, but he's an accomplished enough horror writer, and I doubt if he would have left everything so ambiguous.

For anybody insistent on giving Nameless a try, I suggest watching it with Spanish language and English subtitles. There's an English dubbed version, but the translation is often inaccurate and you're obliged to turn on the subtitles just to see what a sign or newspaper displays. Things get amusing when you watch with dubbed English and English subtitles. The subtitles follow the spoken words in only the loosest sense - even swear words are exchanged for other profanities, only to be bizarrely changed back in other scenes.

The Making of Documentary proves even the actors don't seem to know what the film's about, except that it's a descent into "evil". Other extras include a Music Video (the highlight of this disc) with words sang to the film's main theme, interspersed with a montage of clips from the feature; and a Trailer.

The only saving grace for Nameless is the lightening-quick directorial cuts which appear to serve as visions for the central characters and teasers for the viewers. Nevertheless, I see this as a wasted opportunity.

Ty Power

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