Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Old Ways Review: A Scary Exorcism That Will Possess Your Attention

Release date: October 12, 2021 (Blu-Ray and Digital)
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed By: Christopher Alender
Written By: Marcos Gabriel
Starring: Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cort├ęs, and Julia Vera

Cristina, a journalist of Mexican origin, travels to her ancestral home in Veracruz to investigate a story of sorcery and healing. There, she is kidnapped by a group of locals who claim she's the devil incarnated.

The Old Ways is fittingly an old school style movie with a good sense of dread, creepy start, and a supernatural threat that needs to be handled throughout the film. It has a very slow start as Cristina doesn't believe what is going on and has to slowly be shown what is happening.  And when the actual exorcism begins you get to see the great practical effects at play.  The film uses old school gore and set pieces to portray some very painful demonic possessions, and this allows you to really see the extent of Cristina's possession.  And what I loved most is that the events and tactics used in the exorcism are varied.  You don't have the same thing happening over and over, different elements are explored and different avenues to get the demon out are shown.  

And the film comes to life thanks to the great acting of Canales and Vera.  Canales has to go through hell (literally) to showcase the possession and the various effects it has on her.  Vera is wonderfully creepy as the practitioner of the old ways, guiding Cristina along on her journey and constantly staying strong against the demon.  And the film has a smart use of indie budget, with a small cast and location that is bolstered by the aforementioned great acting and some really nice variety in what is happening.  The small room that this takes place in never feels that small because it mixes up what occurs during the possession.  And there are enough nooks and crannies in this location to allow shadows and scares to surprise you.

But although The Old Ways has a lot of great old school effects, the film is not without faults.  For one, the film has wonderful practical effects, but also uses some prominent CG.  This is noticeable when it happens and it is a shame because the practical effects were so well done.  Additionally, the story goes off  the rails at the end.  The tone changes dramatically and although I enjoyed the ending, it did have a very different feel from the first part of the film.  But that being said, The Old Ways is a great indie horror film with several surprises and a Latin feel.

The Old Ways is an old style exorcism movie, with great acting and delightfully disgusting practical effects to sell this story and possess your attention.

Watch it.

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The Old Ways is available to stream on Netflix and is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digitally on October 12, 2021.  

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