Sitges Film Festival 2020 review: ‘The Old Ways’

0 Flares 0 Flares ×


Soapbox Films 



When Cristina Lopez –  a Mexican American reporter – returns to her ancestral homeland of Veracruz chasing a story on witchcraft and faith healers, she becomes the subject of her own story.  Kidnapped by a local “bruja” and her son, she’s held against her will for a terrifying reason:  they believe she has a demon within her, and won’t let her free until they exorcise the malevolent force … no matter what it takes. As she struggles to make her escape, she slowly comes to believe they may be telling the truth after all.  Along with her captors – and estranged cousin Miranda – Cristina’s fight for survival turns into a fight for her soul.

Ignoring local superstition is never a wise decision when you’re so far from home. But Cristina has demons in more ways than one. Having visited the town of La Boca, a place she grew up in, but a place forbidden by the villagers, she is now faced with childhood trauma through the lens of her camera as a reporter. Something is clearly amiss as she is chained up by the village elders. Through flashbacks, we slowly learn why she insisted on taking in a story that is filled with danger from every angle.

The Old Ways dives headfirst into the scares. Through its stunning backdrop, we are treated to the lush colors of jungle flora as well as makeup and costumes that are drenched in jewel tones. Tropes from candles blowing out to bedsheets being mysteriously pulled off are meticulously placed to create a gradual build-up of terror. A little from column A and a little from column B makes for quite an intriguing plot. But which column holds more power? This script is extremely clever. With visual storytelling elements similar to Ari Aster films. The practical FX get more and more gag-inducing as the plot rolls along. Cristina is s smartly written character. Brigitte Kali Canales does a fantastic job balancing the mystery and the horror.

This film is about respect for tradition. It’s about family. It’s about the lies we tell ourselves. All this is wrapped in a double entendre. The Old Ways is incredibly entertaining as it flips the script about halfway through. There is no time to become comfortable. It has a very satisfying ending.

Directed By Christopher Alender
Written By Marcos Gabriel
Starring Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cortés, Julia Vera, Sal Lopez, AJ Bowen

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×
explore: | | | |