Premiering this week at SITGES MIDNIGHT EXTREME from
Directed by Abraham Sánchez (segment “La Leyenda De Juan Soldado” or “Juan the Soldier”), Diego Cohen (segment “Paidós Phobos”), Fernando Urdapilleta (segment “Potzonalli”), Christian Cueva & Ricardo Farias (segment “Bolas De Fuego” or “Fireballs”), Michelle Garza, (segment “Vitriol”), Sergio Tello (segment “No Te Duermas” or “Do Not Sleep”), Carlos Meléndez (segment “Ya Es Hora” or “It’s About Time”), Lex Ortega (segment “Exodoncia”)
Written by Abraham Sánchez & Alfredo Mendoza (segment “La Leyenda De Juan Soldado” or “Juan the Soldier”), Diego Cohen (segment “Paidós Phobos”), Fernando Urdapilleta (segment “Potzonalli”), Christian Cueva & Ricardo Farias (segment “Bolas De Fuego” or “Fireballs”), Michelle Garza (segment “Vitriol”), Sergio Tello (segment “No Te Duermas” or “Do Not Sleep”), Carlos Meléndez & Adrián García Bogliano (segment “Ya Es Hora” or “It’s About Time”), Lex Ortega (segment “Exodoncia”)
Starring Yeray Albelda, Uri Meza, Giancarlo Ruiz (“La Leyenda De Juan Soldado” or “Juan the Soldier”), Patricia Leih, Humberto Busto, Aline Marrero, Natalia González, (“Paidós Phobos”), Laura de Ita, Hoze Meléndez, Fermín Martínez, Adriana Marroquín, Gabo Anguiano, Lex Ortega, Pilar Fernandez, (“Potzonalli”), Fernando Guisa, Pedro Joaquín, (“Bolas De Fuego” or “Fireballs”), Vanya Moreno, (“Ya Es Hora” or “It’s About Time”),Francisco Barreiro, Dana Karvelas, Florencia Ríos, (“Exodoncia”)
Find out more about this film @mexicobarbarofilm and on Facebook here
The first MEXICO BARBARO (which is available on Netflix, I believe) was a wonderful collection of horror shorts from Mexican filmmakers revealing the darker side of the country South of the border. A new collection of horrors has been compiled and released in this sequel and I’ll be going through each to let you know how this sequel stacks up to its predecessor.
This second anthology starts off with “La Leyenda De Juan Soldado” or “Juan the Soldier” which is a twisted fairy tale of sorts taking place in the old west about a wrongly accused man, what happens when the devil comes to get him after he is killed by bounty hunters, and then what happens to the bounty hunters for killing the wrong man. It’s an all too short tale that I wouldn’t have minded going a bit longer, but it’s got some twisted imagery of El Diablo himself with hooves and horns as well as some chilling ghost effects.
Diego Cohen’s segment “Paidós Phobos” is a twist on La Llarona, the crying woman where a mother is tormented by the loss of her child. The bulk of the short deals with the guilt she feels, wrapping up with a typical segment of ghostly apparitions along the road at night. This one has some rock solid jump scares as well as some spooky imagery.
“Potzonalli” is a whimsical yet diabolical story of a family who has had enough of their abusive father. While the children and mom joyously prepare a meal, they flash back to the horrific things the father has done to them, climaxing in father coming home to a meal that will truly surprise him. While the subject of abuse is no laughing matter, the way the family looks at the viewer and signals them to enter their home makes this one have a really twisted sense of humor. Pretty gory too.
On to “Bolas de Fuego” or “Fire Balls,” another farcical short with some vivid and sexy imagery of a pair of prostitutes who show up to party with some dudes. Agreeing to film their adventure, the two dudes have no idea what they are in for. This one has some beautiful senoritas as well as some inventive use of animation which shows up as pop up ads throughout the story. This one was a lot of fun and doesn’t over stay its welcome.
My favorite of the bunch and probably the best produced and most shocking is “Vitriol” by Michelle Garza, a tale of warped revenge. In the opening moments, we see a model watching some kind of violent movie in bed. She is afraid to leave the house and only talks with deliveries through the door. Split into three chapters, we follow this model as she plans a bizarre revenge on her attackers. The ending of this one will resonate in your head long after the movie has finished. Garza’s “Vitriol” is the standout of this collection.
Another good one is “No Te Duermas” or “Do Not Sleep” told from the POV of a child dealing with the troubling warning his superstitious aunt has told him through the years. Attempting to live with his father after what seems to either be a divorce or a death in the family, the little boy sees monsters in the shadows and under the bed, and hears growls from the closet and behind doors. With his grandmother’s words echoing through the whole film, we see all of the action from the boy’s POV right up until the predictable, but still fun ending.
“Ya Es Hora” or “It’s About Time” tells the tale of a pair of little girls trying out witchcraft for the first time and not knowing that their spell works a little too well on a group of nearby girls at a slumber party. This one is a little effects masterpiece with melting limbs, vomiting nails, and inflating faces. All of these effects are done for a shocking and comical effect, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t convincing and hit home. This is a gory little masterpiece.
Finishing up the anthology is Lex Ortega’s “Exodoncia” a horrifying depiction of drug addiction as a woman struggles with her own sanity and humanity as her drug addiction begins to swallow her life whole. Reaching out to her mother during times of utter desperation, the woman dreams of KISS face painted sexual depravity, a two-toothed clucking gimp, and hears voices to harm herself. This is a shocking one, filled with disturbing imagery and it one hell of a way to leave and impact right before the credits roll.
Once again, this second installment of the MEXICO BARBARO series shows that there is a lot of talented filmmakers in Mexico. Filled with ruthless and horrifying imagery, this installment may be more intense than the first. Every installment was memorable and unique in their own way—communicating its own distinct voice. While I don’t know if I would have wanted it to get too political, I find it interesting that the current political climate involving Mexico isn’t addressed in this series. While tradition, family, ritual, and religion are all addressed, there’s not a lot to be said here about the border, immigration, and looming American politics. It’s possible that it’s too soon to do it, but I think this is the place where those horrors could be addressed. Maybe in part 3. MEXICO BARBARO is an unflinching and terrifying at time, whimsical and fun in others—but an all-around fantastic anthology worth letting into your nightmares.