The Condemned, the new horror film from director Roberto Busó-García, is an anomaly. As a moviegoing experience, it’s rather dull and anti-cathartic. The scares are minimal, and the storyline seems overly manufactured, the work of careful screenwriters and not based on reality. Yet, there’s no denying that Busó-García’s film achieves a Hitchcockian atmosphere that draws the audience into the narrative. The town of Rosales pictured in the movie feels haunted and off-kilter, as if every local resident is both a victim and voyeur. The Condemned is not much of a film, but it can keep one’s interest for 90 minutes.
Although The Iceman appears to be a cinematic mafia thriller, it’s actually a real-life horror story. It may be missing the genre staples like a guy in a mask, chilling piano music, shadows in the night and “don’t-go-in-there” moments, but this serial killer tale induces just as many spine-tingling moments as those monster flicks. What makes The Iceman so scary is that Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) was a real person, and the stories found within this film are based on true events.
Many families in northern New Jersey know the legendary status of the Iceman story. He didn’t terrorize suburbia because many of his murders were accomplished behind closed doors. The revelation after his arrest was less “Thank God they caught him” and more “I can’t believe this man lived among us.”