|Index||5 reviews in total|
I also saw this movie at Screamfest and I loved it. The story was great and kudos to Eduardo Rodriguez for an excellent job at directing and editing this film. The look of the film was great, real gritty and plenty of blood. It's good to see a fictional insight into a real world that deals with criminals and black magic. It's nice to go watch a horror movie that does not involve silly teenagers or is bombarded with the in-style music of the time. Sure, there are some movies like that, that I enjoy, but I prefer the more realistic ones. This movie contains a little bit of everything including the supernatural, but it lets the audience decide whether it's real or not.
I went to see this film at Screamfest Los Angeles last night with very high hopes, but expecting to be disappointed. I love the genre but am getting a bit tired of seeing the same stories redone and interpreted in the same ways over and over again. The Ring was a breath of fresh air, but now that has been done to death as well. I went to see Curandero really hoping to see something original. I was not disappointed. In regards to the visual look, the performances, the overall feel of the film, etc all I can say is WOW! This is not a mega budget film packed with computer generated monsters etc yet the fx in the film where great and just enough to add to the story and not overshadow it. The film-making is really what stands out. I highly recommend this film. I have to tell you that I watch and work within the genre and am pretty desensitized to a lot of it. It is hard for me to even flinch while watching horror films as I can usually see a scare coming from a mile away. This film made me not only flinch, but I almost jumped out of my seat a few times. I don't know much about the director Eduardo Rodriguez, but after watching the feature, I am sure that he is on his way to new heights. Watch this film, you won't be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Carlos Gallardo (the original El Mariachi himself) is a curandero who's
heart is just not into his inherited profession. For those unaware of
what a curandero (spanish for "healer") does, it's like practicing
voodoo supposedly combined with elements of the Catholic faith, but
actually leans more towards necromancy, nothing biblical about it. For
example, you get sick or think someone has cast a spell on you, Mister
or Miss curandero shows up, tosses a few herbs, roots, and such on you,
does a bit of chanting, you drink some foul concoction, and you're out
whatever fee you were dumb enough to pay for their services, in most
cases a few chickens or a hog. In this film however, Gallardo's
character is like a Mexican Harry Potter and local police ask him to
spiritually "cleanse" certain crime scenes that they consider
diabolical, so they can conduct an investigation without getting the
heebee jeebies. Of course you show up at a home where Satan worshipers
have used the occupants as bloody decor and you'd be hesitant to
re-enter it as well, diabolical or not.
At any rate, curandero Carlos grows close to a senorita detective investigating a series of horrendously violent crimes. Unfortunately a rather sinister, nay supernatural, individual sets his sights on the poor cop and faster than you can say "chupacabra" the poor policewoman is transformed into some kind of foul smelling goat creature. Now, many a man has terminated a relationship for reasons a lot less severe than beastly transformation, and if Carlos had called it quits with his goat-sucker girlfriend not a soul would have judged him for it. But Carlos is no such hombre, and he boldly pursues the she-beast-thing to set things right.
Technically the film is good, washed out colors in the cinematography, fine acting, nice use of locations, etc. But after a somewhat interesting first half the film becomes muddled to say the least, and goes downhill fast, really fast. Not one of the better examples of Mexican cinema.
Brought in by the Mexican police, a local healer is thrust into a
battle by the police against a Satanic-led cult of black magic and its
powerful leader which forces him to use all his powers to stop him.
There's a lot to like with this one that manages to get in some plentiful enjoyable elements. The fact that this one centers so much around the concept of black magic and demonic powers that there's some utterly demented and disturbing visuals here. Flashes of dismembered and desecrated bodies bleeding profusely from sacrificial wounds, covered with bugs and insects or scenes of people covered in blood or massive wounds in just his point-of-view start getting more and frequent as time goes on in here and this truly starts getting all the more chilling when it slowly starts getting play in the storyline about what they all mean. It really feels quite cohesive to the story about the mystical cult leader who is actively given a lot of time to strut his powers by appearing only to torment the hero in numerous opportunities, forcing strange and violent visionary day-dreams upon him and using his demonic powers to keep himself alive in the face of his enemies so we have a ton of reasons to fear him and what he can do, so the connection with those deranged visions feels so logical they become immeasurably chilling and creepy. When added with a lot of action scenes including several shoot-outs and a chilling chase through a crowded marketplace, this really sets a chilling tone that works quite well for the film. About the only thing that really doesn't work in this one is a bit bigger than expected, which is the plot-line involving his father. It makes a lot of sense to include such a thread in a story like this, but the fact that it really just feels so shoe-horned into the action that it strangely manages to slow down the plot so that it can not only introduce a storyline to help the hero but fix a problem that was never noticed until then. It makes the film sort of drag into the finale rather than sprint into it, but this isn't all too damaging and still keeps it quite enjoyable throughout.
Rated R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
I want this 90 minutes back from my life and I don't think it's going to happen. For the sake of honesty, the gore and makeup was pretty cool and the demon was cool but the movie is painfully slow for the first three quarters of the movie and the acting, even for a foreign-made movie was really bad and cheesy. If they worked on the story a bit better and organized the scenes and built up the tension more - it could have moved the film along better than it did. The first half of the movie was like watching paint dry. It's just patches of gore tossed in here and there to keep you from shutting off the movie. The gun fights were ridiculous. Let's mug at the camera and each other while guys are shooting assault rifles at us - funny ridiculous! Could have been made into a good movie with some rewrites, better directing, better scene cuts and better acting. Still not sure what happened even at the end of the movie so if anyone figures it out, can you let me know?
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