Sunday, November 13, 2011
Guillermo del Toro, Mexico, 1987, Approximately 8 minutes
Geometria is a Spanish-language short film in which a boy goes to desperate measures (i.e. he summons Satan) to ensure that he will not fail his geometry class. Along the way his father is resurrected as a zombie, his mother is killed by zombie dad, and the boy is eventually undone by his basic understanding of shapes (he attempts to protect himself from the devil by drawing a pentagon around his body, but accidentally draws a hexagon).
This is del Toro's second short and the final film he would make before his feature debut, Cronos. That movie has funny moments, but is otherwise an intense, gory horror film, whereas Geometria has scary moments though is mostly funny. It strongly reminded me of an early Sam Raimi movie; the voice is not really del Toro's, or is at least a totally different voice than the one he would develop over the next twenty years. It's silly, which isn't something you can say about any of del Toro's later efforts. Geometria does not feel connected to other Mexican films.
Geometria is clever. The "your wish is a nightmare when taken literally" trope has been around forever and was already used to death on a dozen episodes of The Twilight Zone, so the zombie father gag falls a little flat. The idea that the protagonist's pentagram is incorrectly sketched, however, is brilliant. The fact that the boy promises his mother that he will not fail geometry and then instantly begins drawing his own blood in order to summon Satan is also hilarious. This is del Toro using another auteur's voice, but he is a strong enough filmmaker that he still leaves a mark in a wonderful way.