Saturday, October 9, 2021

Madres Review: An Interesting Horror Story With A Deeper Message

Release date: October 8, 2021
Running time: 84 minutes
Directed by: Ryan Zarazoga
Written by: Marcella Ochoa & Mario Miscione
Starring: Tenoch Huerta, Ariana Guerra, Evelyn Gonzalez, Kerry Cahill, and Elpidia Carrillo 

Beto (Tenoch Huerta) and Diana (Ariana Guerra), a young Mexican-American couple expecting their first child, move to a small town in 1970’s California where Beto has been offered a job managing a farm. Isolated from the community and plagued by confusing nightmares, Diana explores the rundown company ranch where they reside, finding a grisly talisman and a box containing the belongings of the previous residents. Her discoveries will lead her to a truth much stranger and more terrifying than she could have possibly imagined.

Madres is a slow building film but one that I really appreciated.  The pace is measured and the build up is wonderful, with a nice sense of unease from the moment this film starts.  I liked the sense of paranoia and the themes that were exhibited here, helplessness, terror, paranoia, and also the lack of agency are all present in this film.  And although there are supernatural elements, they are not as pronounced as in other horror films.  It was a nice change where you are just not sure if the unease is real or in the main character's head, which leads to some interesting confrontations and scary encounters.  

But what I loved about Madres is it uses horror to speak to other societal issues.  It doesn't quite hit on them, but I loved the exploration of some of the themes in Madres.  Pesticides, race, culture, and exploitation are all present in this film that crosses languages to tell this story.  It uses horror to look at marginalized people and the disparity in wealth and information for those groups.  But it also looks at the intersection between spiritualistic type beliefs and medicine. And this is all against the backdrop of some real life attorcities that happened.  The film seems to go off the rails at the end, until you see the credits scene to find out that this horror is more based in reality than I thought.  Films like these that entertain and inform are a great tool for the genre and society as a whole, and I was glad to have experienced this one. 

Madres has a tense, dread-filled build up that leads to a terrifying finale that scares because of the horrific event but also the real world inspiration behind it.

Watch it.
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Madres is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

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