The Paramedic

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
The Paramedic Movie Poster Image
Horror movie about revenge has disturbing violence.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 94 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Pick your boyfriends carefully.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Angel is a sociopathic narcissist who is possessive of his live-in girlfriend. She has the smarts to leave when he puts surveillance on her phone.

Violence

Gruesome car accidents feature victims dripping blood and screaming in mangled cars. An EMT performs CPR on an accident victim. A man struggles through physical therapy after losing the use of his legs. A kidnapper sticks a syringe full of morphine into his victim's behind, then keeps her bound and gagged against her will. A man sedates a victim with morphine, then pours lethal amounts of alcohol down his throat to kill him. A man is stabbed to death. A man and woman wrestle on a staircase. She stabs him repeatedly and he falls several stories through a stairwell.

Sex

A couple hoping to have a baby have sex under the covers. A glimpse of breast is seen.

Language

"F--k," "damn," and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man smokes marijuana and buys other illicit drugs. He attacks others with syringes filled with morphine to sedate them.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Paramedic is a 2020 Spanish film in Spanish with English subtitles. It's an extremely disturbing, violent film about a cruel and unfeeling sociopath who works as a paramedic until an accident disables him. He uses narcotics to sedate and disable his victims in a kidnapping and two murders. Gruesome car accidents feature victims dripping blood and screaming in mangled cars. Stabbings. A couple has sex under the covers, but breasts are briefly visible. A man smokes marijuana and steals from accident victims and dead people. Language includes "f--k," "damn," and "hell."

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What's the story?

THE PARAMEDIC is Angel (Mario Casas), an EMT worker who arrives at accidents and other emergencies to help the injured or sick. We immediately learn that he lacks the compassion we might expect of someone in this line of work when we see him pocket personal items of disabled accident victims as well as the jewelry of a woman pronounced dead in her bedroom. While on duty, he smokes marijuana and buys drugs from a hospital coworker. He thinks his girlfriend Vane (Deborah Francois) is cheating on him with a classmate. They've been trying to get pregnant, but he's hiding from her the fact that he has an especially low sperm count. All of his antisocial tendencies grow worse when he becomes wheelchair-bound after an accident. He sets up surveillance on Vane's phone and follows her movements. When she finds out, she leaves immediately and becomes involved with a former colleague of Angel's. Using his access to drugs and his skills as a paramedic, Angel manages to kidnap and sedate the now pregnant Vane and keep her prisoner. To complete his revenge, he plots to get rid of the baby's father, deliver the baby, and raise it with his prisoner girlfriend. As the action grows grimmer, the hope of Vane's rescue dims. 

Is it any good?

This is reminiscent of better movies such as Rear Window and Misery, but without sufficient character development, it just feels like an exploitation film, heavy on violence and narcissism. A great deal of the tension generated here is sustained by the fact that the director establishes early on that Angel (an ironic name) is without morals, a guy in the healing professions who routinely steals from the injured and dead. We know that no internal ethics will interfere with his revenge scheme. He won't hesitate to murder anyone who gets in his way. He won't feel remorse or mercy, or change his mind about the evil he is doing, so nothing he does, no matter how vile, surprises us.

Implausibility is high as people keep warning Angel they're going to call the police instead of just going ahead and calling them. Most implausible is that Angel, like a Mafia boss, has his own crime cleanup squad on call for getting rid of pesky bodies. All of this leaves little room for nuance and doesn't allow the mounting tension to ever let up, making The Paramedic simply unpleasant and difficult to watch rather than engrossing, as a thriller ought to be.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's important to stay away from abusive people. What troubling signs did Angel display in The Paramedic even before he was injured in an accident?

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  • What other recent movies have used sedation and kidnapping as plot points? What do you make of a character who can only get his way by resorting to such methods? 

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  • What's the appeal of horror movies? Why do some people like to feel scared?

Movie details

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For kids who love scary movies

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