Wednesday, November 11, 2015



Label: Dark sky Films

Region Code: 1
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 115 Minutes
Audio: Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 with Optional English subtitles
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Directors: Isaac Ezban, Laurette Flores Bornn, Jorge Michel Grau, Ulises Guzman, Edgar Nito, Lex Ortega, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Aaron Soto
Cast: Dulce Alexa, Sara Camacho, Lorena Gonzalez

I do love a good horror anthologies and I was particularly excited for Mexico Barbaro from Dark sky Films, showcasing eight horror-filled storied from eight Mexican directors. Of the eight I only recognized the name of Jorge Michel Grau who brought us We Are What We Are (2010). The eight tales seem to be based on Mexican folktales and legends, which give the proceedings an interesting slant. I live in Arizona and I have an appreciation for the varied folktales coming out of Mexico, a rich culture with a storied history marked by violence, sounds like a fertile place for up and coming horror directors. 

We begin minus any intro/wrap-around story, straight into Laurette Flores Bornn’s 'Tzompantli' which combines modern Narco terror with ancient Aztec blood sacrifice as a reporter interviews a narco about the deaths of youths in the area. While it does a decent job combining Mexico's past and present it doesn't make for the most compelling watch as a short, but it does serve as an appropriate introduction to the anthology, ending with the phrase "Mexico... Terror is here... Now."

Edgar Nito's 'Jeral de Berrios' is a haunting tale of a pair of bank robbers on horseback with bricks of gold, one is mortally wounded with a bullet to the gut. The duo take refuge in an abandoned mansion, and as the partner of the wounded man explores the mansion he experiences some damn spooky stuff, including the horny spirit of a woman. Some great camerawork and eerie atmosphere make this an early contender for the best of the bunch on the anthology.  This one also goes for the throat with an erotic scene that turn disgusting, which is not something exclusive to this story in particular, a few of these stories might induce some nausea among the more sensitive viewers, which I was not expecting. There are also some nice nods to Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movies, which I certainly appreciated. 

Aaron Soto’s 'Drena' (Drain), a another creepy one that finds a young woman walking home through the desert, she finds the corpse of a man in a ditch,  still clutching a cigarette in his hand. For reasons I cannot make sense of she takes the cigarette and returns home, only to smoke it in her room. When doing so she is visited by a strange spectre that says she must perform a strange vaginal bloodletting ritual on her sister or it will return to suck her soul from her anus. This is a strange one, it comes and goes quickly, and the final scenes is a strange shocker you won't soon forget, a solid entry. 

Next comes Isaac Ezban’s 'La Cosa Mas Preciada' (That Precious Thing) concerning a young virgin couple who travel to a remote cabin in the woods to consummate their young love, only to have it ruined by some rapey demonic goblins who live in the forest. This one was probably the most vile and over-the-top of the stores. It won me over with a mix of some cool creature effects, goblin cock,  and loads creamy yellow stuff. I didn;t love that this entry had that artificial grindhouse veneer added to it but I still loved the movie, a fun watch that is part Sam Raimi's Evil Dead and part Walerian Borowczyk's 'The Beast'. 

Lex Ortega’s 'Lo Que Importa Es Lo De Adentro' (What Matters Is On The Inside) is a bogeyman story of sorts, concerning a troubled adolescent girl who stares out from her upper floor apartment window and cries about the bogeyman, a homeless man who lives in the nearby alleyway. This bogeyman story combines the fear of children with some child kidnapping and organ harvesting, pretty gritty stuff with some gruesome gore effects, and a hint of necrophilia.

Jorge Michel Grau's 'Muñecas' (Dolls) has a great setting, the Island of Dolls in Mexico, shot it attractive black and white, it captures the dark beauty of the black waters of the swamp and the broad leafed plant life, but there's very little story, this on relies on visuals and atmospherics. A woman is chest deep in the black water on the run from a murderer, with very little dialogue the story seems to be about what lurks just beneath the surface of the popular tourist destination, but like  Laurette Flores Bornn’s 'Tzompantli' it is tonally very cool but left me wanting more than a good short story should have.

Ulises Guzman's 'Siete Veces Siete' (Seven Times Seven) again brings us to modern day Mexican narco violence with a phantasmagorical twist of revenge and the occult. This one was mighty creepy with some seriously atmospheric cinematography that set a strange tone, it was quite an eerie watch.  Some cool special effects bring the nightmare imagery to life. The story itself is a tragic tale of revenge, as a man disfigured by fire sets out to avenge the death of wife and kids, again and again. Of all the tales I think this one did the best job of marrying the real-life violence with an voodoo-type of mysticism, my hat if off to Guzman, hope to see a feature length from this guy at some point. 

Gigi Saul Guerrero’s 'Dia de Los Muertos' (Day of the Dead) finishes up the Mexican horror anthology with a fun stripper-revenger, which more or less feels like a riff on Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn,  with strippers in Day of the Dead make-up in the absence of vampires. Not that original but that's just fine by me, it's always nice to go out on a fun note, and this certainly does just that with a mix of campy eroticism and gruesome revenge. 

Special Features: 
- Behind The scenes (31 Mins) 
- Trailer (2 Mins) 

Mexico Barbaro was a solid horror anthology, I didn't love every segment but that's almost never the case with any horror anthology in my experience. Of the eight stories I would say 'Jeral de Berrios',  'La Cosa Mas Preciada' and 'Siete Veces Siete' take the top honors with a stylish blend of creepy storytelling and atmosphere, though 'La Cosa Mas Preciada' is just disgustingly fun throwback. The other stories are decent and well-crafted, nothing ruined it for me, they were just below par. An anthology on par with the V/H/S movies, more consistent than the ABCs of Death, and absolutely worth a watch, this is recommended. 3/5