The Wasteland (El páramo) is a 2021 Spanish horror drama film directed by David Casademunt and based on a screenplay written by Casademunt, Fran Menchón, and Mart Lucas. Inma Cuesta, Asier Flores, and Roberto lamo feature in the film. It was made available on Netflix on January 6, 2022.
The Plot and Cast of The Wasteland
“The Wasteland” is a quarantine horror film (produced during the pandemic) that takes place in 19th-century Spain with a cast consisting primarily of three people, but the setting is unexpected. Outside the lonely home of a father, mother, and their son Diego, a beast waits in the shadows.
They fled the carnage that tore their country apart and live in fear of humanity’s destructive potential. This appears to be an engaging notion, but as with many other aspects of this film, its appeal is limited. “The Wasteland” is able to draw you into its candle-lit world of suffering, yet it is not as oppressive as it could have been.
Diego is our eyes and ears, and Asier Flores portrays him with outstanding young actor vigour and intensity. He observes the concept of the beast manifesting in his parents and their two distinct responses to the unknown. Diego’s father, Salvador (Roberto lamo), wants him to learn to shoot a gun and gives him a personalised rifle for his birthday.
His mother Luca (Inma Cuesta) appears less frightened and more in charge, and she desires to shepherd Diego through this strange world with a softer, less masculine touch. Diego remains vigilant, sticking his head into his parents’ private regions in an attempt to comprehend how they are holding everything together. Even when “The Wasteland” becomes a little dry, the powerful performances of all three actors provide a welcome relief.
When Diego needs to use the outhouse at night, he must be accompanied by one of his parents who is armed with a gun. The open, tranquil terrain surrounding their home endangers them, and frightening sights heighten their unease.
This script, co-written by Mart Lucas and Fran Menchón, is directed by David Casademunt, who imbues it with a deep sense of mystery and atmosphere. “The Wasteland” is a lovely production with few ingredients, with cinematographer Isaac Vila painting their grey home with distinct strokes of candlelight and moonlight and using static wide views to offer us a comprehensive view of their abode.
And for a very long time, there is no description of the beast’s appearance; the plot does not require it. After an incident in which a bloodied guy emerges on a boat, resulting in one of the film’s most horrible make-up effects, the threat alone is sufficient.
Production of The Wasteland
In 2012, David Casademunt, a Spanish director, devised the original concept for the film and began writing the screenplay. In September 2017, the film officially commenced development as part of the Sitges Film Festival Pitchbox initiative, with Casademunt slated to direct from his own script.
The film received support from Ventana Sur’s Blood Window pitching programme in Latin America and The Madrid Film School the following year. By August 2018, the script was complete, and the Toronto International Film Festival welcomed Casademunt to their Filmmaker Lab for support and funding. He referred to the selection as a “great prize” and stated that he would create a picture that “all people might appreciate.”
In February of 2020, Rodar y Rodar, a Spanish production company, joined the project as the primary producer. Marina Padró of Rodar y Rodar referred to Casademunt as “a new hope for Spanish cinema.” Frequent collaborators Fran Menchón and Mart Lucas were listed as co-writers of the screenplay, and Casademunt described the feature as “a picture about the demons inside of us and how they convert us into damaged adults.”
It was announced at a press conference in October 2020 that Netflix had acquired international distribution rights to the production. In February 2021, Inma Cuesta, Roberto lamo, and Asier Flores were cast in the starring parts.
Production began in early February 2021 and concluded in July of that year. Locations utilised for filming included a moorland in the province of Teruel, as well as the municipalities of Blancas and Villarquemado, as well as the lagoons of Gallocanta and El Caizar.
Release of The Wasteland
The film was scheduled to have its global premiere at the 54th Sitges Film Festival on 11 October 2021, as part of the festival’s official selection. It was made available on Netflix globally on January 6, 2022.
Reception of the Movie
Miguel ngel Romero, writing for Cinemanía, gave the film three out of five stars and stated that Inma Cuesta and Asier Flores portray the fragility of the human psyche. He also said that the video contributes to the visibility of mental diseases at a time when advocacy for mental health is vital.
Raquel Hernández Luján of HobbyConsolas gave it a score of 68 out of a possible 100, praising the film’s atmosphere, performances, and musical score, but critiquing its repetitious sequences and illogical passages.
The Wasteland: Concluding Remarks
Overall, the most recent Spanish horror film on Netflix offers an intriguing perspective on the unrest generated by isolation and terror. The narrative holds your attention to the very end. The performances are outstanding. The film is currently available on Netflix.