Movie Review (Panic Fest 2021): The Last Matinee

April 10, 2021

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Director Maximillano Contenti’s Uruguayan shocker The Last Matinee (AKA Red Screening and its original title of Al morir la matinée) goes all in on the thrills and gore in its telling of a murderer going on a bloody rampage inside a cinema. The film is a hybrid of slasher movie motifs and giallo film aesthetics, with an obvious love for cinemas — from the ticket and projection booths to the seats to areas you never knew existed — added for good measure.
Ana (Luciana Grasso) is a university student whose father works as a projectionist in a Montevideo cinema in the early 1990s. She insists one rainy night that he go home and rest rather than working a double shift, as she has watched him enough over the years to know how to work the equipment. Planning to study while a horror movie unspools for the audience — which includes a couple on an awkward date, three drunk minors and a girl who one of the trio thinks looks like Brooke Shields, a grumpy older patron, and a very young boy — Ana soon finds herself pitted against a maniac (Ricardo Islas) bent on killing her and the few remaining customers he hasn’t already offed.
Contenti, working from a screenplay he cowrote with Manuel Facal, is obviously well versed on the two subgenres of fright-fare cinema that he tackles here. He nails the essence of slasher and giallo fare without being slavish to their trappings, creating an atmosphere that is familiar but with his own stamp. Benjamin Silva’s cinematography splendidly captures the beautiful color palettes on display, and Hernán González’s moody score fits the film wonderfully. Grasso is terrific as the lead, and she heads up a fine, sizable cast.
Gorehounds rejoice: The Last Matinee has plenty of gross-out practical special effects, and they are impressively rendered. Gallons of the red stuff are on display. Viewers with an aversion to eye trauma may want to think twice before diving into this film, though.
The Last Matinee is a crackerjack throwback film that, while paying homage to its inspirations, eschews the unimaginative trappings some retro-minded slasher and giallo movies go for in favor of seeking new approaches and simultaneously being a valentine to classic movie houses. The film rises above being mere pastiche, and is highly recommended for horror fans of every stripe.
The Last Matinee screened as part of Panic Fest, which took place from April 8–18, 2021. Dark Star Pictures and Bloody Disgusting present the film in theaters from August 6, and On Demand, Digital, and DVD from August 24. #panicfest2021
The Last Matinee streams on Arrow beginning December 1. For more information, visit


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