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Infiesto 2023 Movie Review
We remember the horrid times when the Coronavirus pandemic put the whole world in lockdown, and everything from schools to streets was closed down. There haven’t been too many movies about the greatest pandemic of this century yet, but Patxi Amexcua’s 2023 crime thriller “Infiesto” uses the backdrop of the pandemic-induced lockdown to bring us a story of kidnappings and deaths. In this Netflix movie, two inspectors go on a mission to find the kidnapper of a girl and end up uncovering much worse things. Here’s what happens in the movie:
Right when the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to spread across the globe, and people are scared and confused, the discovery of a girl who’s been missing for days puts two inspectors in charge of the search for the kidnappers involved. They manage to find the kidnapper, but he claims that things are just getting started before killing himself. Inspectors Garcia and Castro discover that several more teenagers have been kidnapped, and this goes far beyond the usual kidnapping in exchange for ransom. Soon, they’re on a wild goose chase to find the leader before another teenage life is lost. With coronavirus sweeping through Spain and leaving dead bodies in its wake, this dark thriller focuses on the stress of two officers who need to race against time to rescue teenagers from a psychopath.
The movie begins on a rainy day, when a little girl in a dirty nightdress and wounds all over her body runs up to a square with a straw doll tied to her wrist. When the police show up, she screams in pure panic. On the first day of nationwide lockdown, Deputy Inspector Marta Castro waits for her partner Samuel Garcia outside a hospital, smoking a vape pen, as several sick people go in and out. She informs Garcia about the case and that the girl hasn’t spoken yet. Garcia’s mother is in an old-age facility, and they won’t allow him to see her because of the pandemic, while Castro’s boyfriend, Carlos, is in isolation. The girl’s fingerprints reveal that she’s Saioa Blanco, and she had been missing for almost three months. The doctors say that no traces of DNA have been found on her body, but there are ligature and bite marks on Saioa’s body, and it appears that she had been locked up for the entire duration. There’s a strange symbol on her back, which was probably inflicted by the kidnapper. Garcia meets with Inspectors Ramos and Altuna, the officers who discovered Saioa, and Ramos offers his card in case Garcia might need his help. Castro receives a call from the emergency services that says a driver had spotted Saioa near Picu Siana, and Garcia and Castro decide they’ll inform Saioa’s mother that she’s alive. Julia Lopez, the girl’s mother, breaks down in tears of relief when the inspectors drive to her home to inform her that her daughter is alive and that she’ll be alright. As the mother hugs her unconscious daughter at the hospital, commissioner Basterra entrusts the case with the two inspectors since the country is in a state of alert because of the pandemic. At night, Garcia drops Castro off at her home, where she talks with Carlos with a door in between them, and Garcia tries waving at his mother at an old-age facility, but the nurse takes the elderly woman away.
On the second day of lockdown, Castro says that Saioa went missing near San Vicente Intersection, so that’s where they need to start looking. They spot a massive building and find a car parked outside the building with a sleeping woman inside. A man walks up to them from the house and immediately flees but is caught soon. As it turns out, the pair grew weed and thought the police were after them. The inspectors get a call that Saioa’s awake, and at the hospital, they meet Paz Nogueira, a PTSD specialist who says it’ll be difficult to have the girl remember details from the traumatic experience, and they’ll have to wait until Saioa feels safe to speak. Castro suspects Saioa’s stepfather because her kidnapping happened very soon after his divorce from Julia. The inspectors meet Ricardo Marqina, the stepfather, at his workshop, and he doesn’t seem too pleased to see cops again after being questioned already. Garcia says that Ricardo and Saioa were at constant odds, and the man admits that he hated the girl’s guts, but he didn’t hurt her. At the station, Garcia shows Castro the report of an arrest where Manuel Gomez, aka The Dog Killer, was brought in for assaulting a Korean woman; interestingly, he lives near the San Vicente intersection. They arrive at the dilapidated and unkempt area, fenced with steel gates and guarded by a German shepherd. After scolding the dog to silence, the inspectors make their way inside and are peering into the stable when a gross-looking man pops out and points a shotgun at them. The inspectors force Manuel Gomez to lower his weapon and then demand to look inside the stable. They find a bed and food inside, but Manuel says that’s for his cousin, who goes hunting with him on the weekends. Regarding his arrest the previous week, he says he misinterpreted what the Korean woman wanted, and he touched her inappropriately. Unable to find anything suspicious, the inspectors leave.
However, soon after, Castro receives a call from forensics that says the bite marks on Saioa’s legs were from a dog, and she had grains of sand under her nails with traces of ethanol and tartaric acid. Garcia immediately turns the car around because these compounds are found in the several wine vats that Manuel’s stables had. The inspectors are too late, however, and they find the dog shot dead and the place empty. Garcia rips the bales of hay and boxes guarding a secret door, and upon entering, he finds another door with a similar straw doll like the one found on Saioa’s wrist. Inside is a prison-like room that reeks of something terrible, and as Castro retches outside, Garcia receives a phone call that Manuel’s car has been spotted. He injured one Officer and was wounded when his car overturned. The officers corner the pathetic wretch and tell that it’s the end of the line for him, but he valiantly screams that everything is just beginning before blowing his own head off with the shotgun.
As forensic officials scour Manuel’s house on the third day of lockdown, Garcia finds a box full of different sized shoes, while Castro finds a box with a Polaroid photo of two men in hacky sack masks with guns. Basterra arrives and, upon seeing the findings, sends the inspectors after the cousin Manuel mentioned and asks them to close the case before the press is alerted. On the way to the cousin’s cow ranch, Castro advises Carlos to keep resting and taking his medication. The cousin flatly denies ever going hunting with Manuel because he never liked the man and instead said that The Dog Killer would hunt with someone named Demon. The inspectors find out that Demon drove a truck at Marquina’s workshop, meaning he’s Ricardo Marqina’s brother. The cousin adds that Demon lives in a caravan in the workshop. At the workshop, the inspectors find the caravan, and Castro knocks on the front door before trying to go in while Garcia goes around and looks inside. He’s terrified to find that the door knob is rigged with a gas cylinder, and the cops barely escape with their lives as the caravan blows up. Later on, Castro reads from the archives that Demon was in the army before being discharged and given therapy because of his mental issues. While searching the remains of the caravan, Castro finds several Polaroid photographs of teenage boys and girls with crowns on their heads and wearing white nightdresses, as was found on Saioa. Basterra asks his inspectors to take the night off, despite their arguments. At night, Garcia video calls his family and speaks to his children over his laptop while Carlos is carried away to the ER as his condition is worsening.
The following morning, Basterra says that the rest of the teenagers have been identified, and each child went missing at gaps of 3 months from one another. The primary suspicion is towards ritualistic murders because of the nightdresses, the crowns, the straw dolls, and the symbol that was found on Saioa’s back. An officer announces that Demon’s truck has been found, and Garcia and Castro arrive on the scene. Garcia starts poking around inside the vehicle until he uncovers a hidden compartment that works as a confinement zone with ropes for tying, and they decide it’s time to meet Ricardo Marqina once again. Garcia approaches Marqina and asks for the location of his brother. When the workshop grunt behaves impolitely, the Officer grabs him by the collar and threatens him until he admits that Demon used to take his dates to a hermitage near the Cuervo Fountain. Upon arriving at the hermitage with a few more cops, unannounced firing from behind the closed doors injures one Officer, and a crossfire breaks out until Demon runs out of bullets and carelessly opens the door. Even while he’s forcefully pinned down and dragged away, he keeps screaming that things are just getting started. Garcia and Castro investigate the inside of the hermitage to find branding irons with designs that made the symbol on Saioa’s back and the same symbol on the wall, made with blood. While interrogating the psychotic Demon at the station, Garcia learns that the teenagers were kidnapped to appease Taranis, the storm god, because the end of the world is upon them. Demon also adds that Saioa would’ve been sacrificed, too, had it not been for Manuel’s recklessness, who took the girl out for fresh air when she managed to escape. The last information that’s extracted from Demon is that the kidnappings are part of the Prophet’s plan, but he doesn’t utter a single word about who the Prophet is. To confirm, Garcia heads back to the hospital and has Julia ask Saioa how many were there at her kidnapping and asks her to point at them. Saioa shows three fingers and nods at the images of Manuel and Demon. Garcia climbs back into Castro’s car, relays the information, and they drive away – unaware they were being watched by a hooded entity.
At the station, the inspectors learn that Taranis was worshiped by the Celtic tribes during summer and winter solstices and offered human sacrifices every three months. Basterra says all the items they’ve found point towards Druidic practices, and Druids were known to have prophetic powers like that of reincarnation. Castro points out that spring would arrive in the next 48 hours – giving the inspectors less than two days to find and stop the psychopath. Meanwhile, a girl gets abducted by a hooded and masked entity from the hospital parking lot. In their office, Garcia finds a photograph that shows Demon and Manuel have been friends since childhood, while Castro finds the number that the Prophet uses belongs to a dead man. Frustrated, Castro goes to the cafeteria to have a coffee when she spots a hooded figure standing outside. She chases the person down and asks her to lower her hood and provide documents. It’s a young woman named Lidia Vega, and Castro asks her to go home.
On the fifth morning, Castro wakes up at her desk to find a note from Garcia that his mother has passed. The inspector arrives at the facility and wants to see his mother, but all the bodies are being taken away. He shoves the hazmat suit-wearing professionals aside and breaks down in front of his mother’s coffin when Castro calls him. Garcia learns about the kidnapping that happened the previous night, and as they drive away, Paz comes out and is made aware of the same. Garcia heads to the station, grabs Demon, and takes him to the hermitage. He then beats and strangles the psychopath and demands the name of the Prophet, but he won’t budge, so he shoots him in the leg. Castro tries to stop him, but Garcia pushes her away and is about to shoot him in the head when Basterra rushes in and suspends Garcia for his actions. Meanwhile, Paz requests Julia to let her speak to Saioa to help her identify the kidnappers, but Julia screams at her and refuses to help. At night, while packing up his stuff to leave, Garcia finds the photograph from Demon and Manuel’s childhood and spots a long-haired man with a straw doll necklace. He then takes the photo to Officer Ramos, who instantly recognizes the man and says that he was called The Prophet by the children, who adored him. He adds that Ramos’s father is said to live in Infiesto and offers to drive Garcia to the location because he knows it. Elsewhere, Castro is invited to talk to Paz, who says that there was a young woman in the center she worked in who also had a similar symbol on her chest, and her name was Lidia Vega. Castro is bewildered but calms herself and starts talking to Lidia. Lidia says that she left her home at 17 and lived near an abandoned mine with hippies, smoking weed and making love until their leader got too interested in a few ideas and wanted to perform a ritual on her, but a boy stopped him.
On his way, Garcia sends a text to Castro that he’s heading to Infiesto with Ramos. The two men arrive at an old house and find a covered car, and Garcia immediately recognizes it as the kidnapped girl’s car. They enter the house, and Ramos points at an oil painting of a man and child and says it’s the Prophet’s father with him. They enter a room and find the decayed skeleton, and just as Garcia rushes out, Lidia tells Castro that the Prophet was called Mr. Ramos, and the Officer is seen pointing a gun at Garcia. Immediately, Castro calls her partner, alerting him about Ramos’s true identity, but the Prophet fires two bullets into Garcia’s back and two more in his chest before killing him with one to the head. By the time Castro arrives, Garcia is long dead, and she plans her revenge.
The sixth day of lockdown sees police officers running through the mining town as Castro heads to the underground mine. It’s a long way down, and upon descending, she hears the screams and wails of a woman and is immediately fired upon. After a crossfire, she walks towards the sounds of the screams and enters a room to find several strands of hair hanging from racks and a girl tied and gagged on an X-shaped cross. Through her gag, she tries alerting Castro to look behind, but it is too late as Ramos walks in and fires at her. Despite the bulletproof jacket, Castro’s arm is injured, and Ramos advances to finish her off, but she fires back. She commands the psychopath to stay down, but he tries attacking again and is gunned down.
Ten days have passed since the lockdown started when Castro visits Carlos, who’s doing a lot better now. Reports of the thousands deceased due to coronavirus keep playing in the news, and Carlos asks how Castro’s arm is and how is Garcia’s family is holding up. She goes to the window to find several ambulances arriving to drag patients and bodies out and comments that this might be the end of the world after all.
A fast-paced dark thriller with no rest stops to let the audience catch their breath, “Infiesto” shows the perversions the human mind can turn to when the world is busy attending to greater trouble. The psychopaths Manuel, Demon, and Ramos, as their leader, kidnapped and sacrificed teenagers to the Thunder God, Taranis. By the time Garcia approached Ramos for help and the always-masked Officer offered to show him the way, it was pretty obvious who the third member of the cult was. Ramos had been trying to sacrifice teenagers for years, and the ones whose photographs the detectives found were the ones we knew of. It’s unclear how many more teenagers he killed in his diabolical world of appeasing a Celtic God. In all fairness, Garcia couldn’t think straight. He had just lost his mother, his family was away from him, and the teenagers who kept reminding him of his own son and daughter kept getting kidnapped and dying. He didn’t have a moment’s warning before Ramos shot him in the back and killed him.
When Castro approached the mine all alone, that was a very ill-advised thing to do, and there was a high chance that she, too, would die like her partner. She thankfully managed to survive because of the bulletproof jacket and killed the Prophet. However, the movie didn’t end on a happy note because it was the beginning of the several-month-long pandemic that would claim millions of lives across the world.