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The Old Ways

USA 2020
produced by
Christa Boarini, T. Justin Ross, David Grove Churchill Viste, Christopher Alender (executive), Marcos Gabriel (executive), David A. Smith (executive), Scott G. Carr (executive) for Soapbox Films
directed by Christopher Alender
starring Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cortés, Julia Vera, Sal Lopez, AJ Bowen, Weston Meredith, Julian Lerma, Elizabeth Phoenix Caro, Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez, Graciela Guerrero
written by Marcos Gabriel, music by Ben Lovett, creature design by Keith Thompson, special makeup and creature effects by Josh Russell, Sierra Russell

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Cristina (Brigitte Kali Canales), an American journalist of Mexican origin, travels back to her ancestral home to report about the odd local cults and rituals ... and suddenly finds herself chained up in a shed, cared for by an old man, Javi (Sal Lopez), who doesn't seem to speak her language. Cristina insists to see her cousin Miranda (Andrea Cortés), and against all hope her wish is granted - only that Miranda is part of those who hold her captive, as apparently Cristina is possessed by a demon, and she needs to undergo an exorcism to be healed. Of course, Cristina believes none of this and makes numerous attempts to escape - but finds out she cannot cross the place's threshold, held back by some magic spell. What's worse, the local bruja and exorcist, Luz (Julia Vera) pulls creepy shit out of her body, and Cristina coughs up hair and things, and slowly it dawns upon her that she might indeed be possessed, especially when she also starts to remember how she got here - and that's a dark memory. So she wills into the exorcism after all. Only every exorcism comes with its own risks ...

 

Granted, it's more than likely that one might not understand each detail of the story, especially when it enters esoteric territory - but that works in the film's favour, really, as its story is much more told via moods and via visually pretty impressive setpieces rather than following a strict narrative structure, and director Christopher Alender sure shows a hand for the grotesque along the way. And solid performances by the small ensemble really ground the movie, to make it one creepy piece of genre cinema.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD