Monday, October 17, 2011

Epitafios: When a High School Reunion is Murder



In last week's episode of Criminal Minds, "Painless", survivors of a devastating high school killing spree are being murdered by a similar killer on the eve of the spree's 10th anniversary. While the episode was probably written with real-life high school tragedies such as the Columbine massacre in mind, it was very similar in its style to slasher films where the killer is motivated to seek revenge against those who he/she believes to be responsible for some past trauma. Thus, this Criminal Minds outing reminded me of classic slasher flicks such as Prom Night and Happy Birthday to Me. It also reminded me of Epitafios, a 12 episode mini-series from Argentina that was produced by HBO Latin America in 2004.

Epitafios follows ex-detective Renzo Márquez (Julio Chávez) as he investigates a series of gruesome murders that are somehow linked to four students who died during a high school hostage situation five years earlier. The series' title is a nod to the killer's signature: he writes cryptic epitaphs for each of his intended victims. While the story strains at times to provide enough twists and tension to fill 12 episodes, Epitafios is a must-see for anyone who likes a good giallo or slasher story--particularly a story that isn't restricted to a two-hour (or less) running time.

A second Epitafios miniseries was released in 2009, which centers around a killing spree committed by killer who has dual personalities. Check out the official Epitafios site for more details about this top-notch TV thriller.

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