Mexico Barbaro is an anthology with eight short films by eight different directors. The helmers include Laurette Flores Bornn, Edgar Nito, Aaron Soto, Isaac Ezban, Lex Ortega, Jorge Michel Grau, Ulises Guzman and Gigi Saul Guerrero. When it comes to anthology films, I’ve found that they are either a total hit or a complete miss. It’s rare that one is in between. I’m a big fan of anthologies and was absolutely excited to check this one out! Instead of reviewing it as a whole, I will review it by segment. Keep reading for the full rundown.
“Tzompantli” is the first short film. It opens with a retired reporter remembering when he was young and just starting out in his career. He lucked up with the chance of a lifetime interview, involving an inside man who would reveal the secret of the Mexican drug cartels. Of course, things do not go as planned. Although, this short was suspenseful, it was far from scary.
The second is “Jaral de Berrios“. It opens with two outlaws, one wounded but led by the other whom is clearly the brain. The brain decides that they should lay low in an abandoned and decaying mansion. Turns out the mansion isn’t empty like they believed it to be. There are ghosts…sexy lady ghosts! This film reminded me of the gothic British horror features that took place in mansions. The one in “Jaral de Berrios” was absolutely breathtaking. The cinematography is amazing and the mansion had an undeniable sinister atmosphere. I’m a sucker for ghost stories and I’d love to see this film expanded.
The third film is “Drena“. This one has a very unique yet questionable opening. There’s a girl taking a cigarette from the hand of a dead boy. I have no idea why she does this. Perhaps she doesn’t know he’s dead? Anyway, as she does this, the lighting of the film shifts its attention to a pale little demon. The demon tells the girl that she must “drena” (drain) the blood from her sister’s pudenda. Yes, you read that correctly. The demon also tells the girl that if she doesn’t do this, it would suck her soul straight from out of her back side. No, I’m not kidding.
Guys, I’ve never felt so uncomfortable as I did when I heard that demon say that. Can you imagine? Man! Well, this one had a great concept; however, I wanted more. I felt like I didn’t fully understand it. Why a cigarette? Why period blood? Why did the camera man think it would be a great idea to keep on zooming in and out in the final scene? It didn’t make things any scarier. Actually, it gave me a headache. Sorry. It’s already disturbing, less is more.
The fourth segment in Mexico Barbaro is “La Cosa mas Preciada“. A young couple rents a cabin in the middle of the week. It’s supposed to be romantic gesture to get the young woman ready to lose her virginity to her pushover boyfriend. Of course, things don’t go as planned! Like most horror movies, there’s a mysterious old man who knows everything and tries to warn the couple twice. Still, they’re way too hot in their crotches to hear a thing! Bottom line, they should’ve listened because the creatures called “aluxes” live in the woods and have a habit of taking things that don’t belong to them.
This one tries to do twist and turns, but it’s just extremely cheesy and the monster costumes are very B-rated. Perhaps the director was aiming for that, however it doesn’t make up for the young girl’s wild eyeballs or the ending being predictable.
In the fifth film, “Lo que Importa es lo de Adentro“, a disabled young girl spends her time looking out the window, calling a dirty homeless man “Coco,” which subtitled as “bogeyman.” Her mother could care less and constantly screams at the girl but treats her brother like he’s the king of the earth. Even though the girl’s yelling gets annoying after a while, she just might know what’s she’s talking about! I was very familiar with this legend and enjoyed the intense finale. I’d love to see this film expanded or at least given more background on this “bogeyman“.
The sixth film, “Munecas“, opens with a woman who escaped from being abused but has been captured once again. This one didn’t offer anything brand new nor was it “horror movie” scary. On the other hand, it was “actual life” scary. My sympathy was with the woman from start to finish and I was definitely rooting for her. I was highly impressed with the storytelling of this one.
The seventh film is “Siete Veses Siete“ and focuses on a cowboy with a scarred face. The cowboy digs up a corpse and takes it to an isolated desert. As the viewer, we aren’t sure what’s going on. A couple nights go by and through some ritual, he brings the corpse back to life. The relationship between the cowboy and corpse is definitely unexpected! This is a great supernatural story that goes hand in hand with the phrase “Actions speak louder than words.” The only downfall with this film for me is the CG. It’s very distracting and takes away from the story. Once again, less is more.
The final vignetted in Mexico Barbaro is “Dia de los Muertos“. It begins with a woman narrating, giving a pep talk to young women in a dressing room before they go out to the club to strip. Some of the women look scared and battered; however, as the viewer you don’t really question anything. The women have their faces painted with Day of the Dead makeup and they’re going to give these men a show they will never forget. This one is my favorite and it was a blast! It has a cool little twist to it and went complete opposite of what I was thinking!
Overall, Mexico Barbaro is far from perfect, but it’s a solid anthology. You get the awesome segments and the not so awesome segments. I recommend this film to people who love anthologies. If you speak Spanish, then double high five to you.
WICKED RATING: 6/10
Title: Mexico Barbaro
Director: Laurette Flores Bornn, Edgar Nito, Aaron Soto, Isaac Ezban, Lex Ortega, Jorge Michel Grau, Ulises Guzman and Gigi Saul Guerrero
Writer(s): Laurette Flores Bornn, Edgar Nito, Aaron Soto, Isaac Ezban, Lex Ortega, Jorge Michel Grau, Ulises Guzman and Gigi Saul Guerrero
Stars: Dulce Alexa, Sara Camacho, Lorena Gonzalez
Release: DVD November 3, 2015
Studio/ Production Co: LuchaGore Production
Length: 115 Minutes
*Updated November 10, 2020