This morning Amazon Prime is flashing El Internado: Las Cumbres, with some young adults in high school uniforms arguing and being scared in the woods. I could use another Spanish paranormal high school, although I wonder why they translated the title as The Boarding School: Las Cumbres.
Scene 1: Close ups of crows in a snowy woods. One crow fllies to a Medieval castle on a cliff, with barred windows and a statue of a crow in the courtyard.
A bell rings: we're in a modern school coridor. Paul (Albert Salazar, left) and Manuel fight while the other students cheer (why are kids always delighted to see their classmates beating on each other?). While the principal tries to stop them, a girl breaks into her safe and retrieves some papers. So the fight was just a distraction!
Guards take Paul and Manuel through darkness to a Medieval dungeon, and lock them in.
Scene 2: About a thousand students run out of the school and do calisthenics in the courtyard. Meanwhile, a girl rides her bicycle to small Medieval chapel, goes inside, and hides a box and some papers under a grate. She peers out the window at the students exercising (so the school is much bigger on the inside than on the outside? Are these the same papers from Scene 1? Why steal them, and then return them to the school, and then hide them?
Someone sinister is peering down at the kids exercising. A boy stays behind to stare, but not at the person peering down. Only five minutes in, and I'm already confused by the reduplicated mysteries.
Scene 3: The girl retrieves the box, goes to the girls' locker room, and distributes packages of cigarettes to her friends! Psych! Why hide the carton, only to retrieve it five seconds later? Scary Staring Girl doesn't want a pack.
Scene 4: Church. Scary monks in robes that hide their faces. All except the Coach from Scene 2, who stares ominously. goes to his room, takes off his robe, and incongrously checks his computer. What he sees makes him angry.
Scene 5: The Principal is giving the students a pep talk: "The reason you are here is that no one wants you. Society and your families quit believing in you." Cheery! Adele, yet another staring girl sneaks out, rushes past the guard dog, and sneaks into a Medieval-looking arched doorway to a run-down apartment, where Sra. Virginia is watching tv. She's there for a French lesson! Psych!
On tv, a talk show. A woman has written a book about a boarding school that burned down. Are these people all ghosts?
Adele asks to go to the bathroom, and instead steals a bottle of medication from the bedroom.
Scene 6: Bell rings. Students march out in regimented lines. Adele is called to the principal's office. On the way, she throws out the drug that she stole earlier. But it's not about the drug; her Uncle is ont he phone. She can't tell him "Help! This is an abusive nightmare!" with the Principal right there, so she just says "Fine...um...yes, Paul's fine too."
She leaves the office and tries to retrieve the drug, but it's gone! Someone swiped it from the waste baseket!
Scene 7: Coach Monk(Alberto Amarilla) is talking to Love Interest about the alchemists who practiced black magic in these mountains years ago.
Meanwhile, Paul and Manuel, still in the dungeon, are passing the time by discussing an old Ray Bradbury story, "Mars is Heaven," about astronauts who land on Mars and find what they think are their relatives. Actually they are Martians planning to kill them. Is this a metaphor for their situation?
The night monitor checks the girls' dorm and finds Paz with a forbidden cell phone, so he drags her into the bathroom and cuts her hair off.
Scene 8: In the morning, everyone stares as Paz martches into class with short hair. Coach Monk -- named Elias -- is reminded that the boys are still in the dungeon, so he gives the class a Latin translation assignment and rushes to release them.
Coach Monk Elias bursts into the principal's office to complain about the inhmane punishments being doled out to the students. Principal counters: the students are not human, they are murderers and thieves. They are not here to be helped; they are here to suffer. He disagrees: they need compassion. So she fires him.
Scene 9: Heavily regimented dinner. Paul and Manuel recite: "I deserved my punishment and I promise not to break the rules again."
Later, Manuel smooches with a girl. They discuss what they are going to do when they have escaped, in less than 15 hours. Paul and his girlfriend, Adele, arrive, and they discuss the escape plan:
Boo! I thought Paul and Manuel were a gay couple, and they both suddenly have smoochy-woochy girlfriends! A one-two punch in the gut!
Oh well, on to the plan: they will use the drug that Adele stole to sedate the guard dog, hot-wire a van in the parking lot, and drive to the bus station, where they will use the bus tickets that Manuel's girlfriend bought with the money she stole from the safe,, and then hid under the grate with the cigarettes. All the mysteries resolved, except for who stole Adele's drug vial.
Scene 10: Music class. The teacher (Joel Bosqued) is discussing how music causes chemical reactions in the brain that last forever. So that's why I can't get the them to "The Brady Bunch" out of my head? He asks them to connect a song to their best and worst memory. Paz bursts out of the classroom.
Scene 11: At the monastery, Coach Monk Elias complains to the Head Monk, also Director at the School, that horrible things keep happening. He's tried everything possible to help the kids, but the Principal and her minions insist on torturning them. Head Monk insists that he stay. Wait -- if the Director doesn't agree with the torture, couldn't he fire the evil principal?
Scene 12: Music Teacher is writing in his diary about how hot one of the girls is. Darn, I figured he must be gay. He sees a crow at the window.
Scene 13: Night. The four friends sneak out of their dorms and climb onto the roof. Then they lose the steak for the dog, and Paul and Adele wimp out.
Meanwhile the principal discovers the stolen money and bursts into the dorms to screech at the kids. She discovers that four are missing, and has an apoplexic fit, but the studens are overjoyed.
Manuel and his girlfriend run through dark woods, chased by the school faculty, Manuel tumbles into a ravine and is knocked out. Some mysterious figures wearing crow masks scoop him up and walk off in slow motion. The end.
Other Scenery: The castle-school and monastery are beautifully creepy.
Supernatural: Not nearly enough, just little hints here and there.
Psych-Outs: Lots. Big mysteries turn out to be not mysterious at all. Red herrings and dead ends everywhere.
Gay Characters: None, darn it! The boys are a gay couple until Scene 9. Even Monk Elias seems to have a love interest.
My grade: D