Mórbido’s 2×1 review of all things horror!

With memories of the inauguration still fresh in our minds—a spectacular event that included lots of costume changing for Pablo Guisa, some dancing dwarves and heartfelt homages for both actress Barbara Crampon and living legend Roger Corman—, screenings started on friday with The Black Gloves (2017), the story of a guilt-ridden psychologist obsessed with a reclusive ballerina and a title that makes a clear reference to the giallo-like vibe that runs through the film.

Nevertheless, and just as the infamous The Evil Within (2017) finished screening at another auditorium just across the lobby at Cinépolis Diana’s movie theatre, the day’s first true highlight came with Aterrados (2017), the clever and—most of all—very scary account of several paranormal happenings that take place at a placid suburban neighbourhood someplace in Argentina. Written and directed by Demián Rugna, the film took the audience on a thrilling, atmospheric ride full of jolting and, most of all, skilfully earned jump scares, as cast members began disappearing and the already dead came back to haunt the living—a really creepy scene that would bring about a collective gasp in the audience. An early high point of the fest, indeed.

Genre filmmaking in Latin America had its second chance at disturbing its wilful audience with La región salvaje (The Untamed, 2017), a film that has been making the rounds in the festival circuit since it was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Lion for direction. Dubbed the “second-best movie ever made about tentacle sex” by IndieWire, this surreal erotic thriller couldn’t be further away from Aterrados’ smart but genre-friendly scares: its director, Mexican art-house darling Amat Escalante is not as interested in terrifying his audience as he is in facing them up with other, more terrestrial horrors as homophobia, jealousy and the human need for intimacy and connection are awakened and aroused by the fleshy, alien life form living in the woods.

“Once it wraps its tentacles around you, The Untamed doesn’t let go,” concludes IndieWire’s review… and, judging by the aforementioned films, it could very well refer to MÓRBIDO’s grasp of that which makes audiences tick… and its commitment with audiences and films made abroad, down the continent’s nether regions…

 

Next: Gigi Saul Guerrero’s La Quinceañera, Chilean gore fest Trauma and Latin America’s painful relationship with violence and its own history.

 

—Antonio Camarillo

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