A young woman gets more than she bargains for upon her trip to her ancestral home in this thriller from Christopher Alender.
Journalist Cristina Lopez decides to do a story on sorcery and healing in her ancestral home in Veracruz, Mexico. Upon her arrival, she finds herself immediately kidnapped by some locals. When she sees her cousin Miranda, she was warned not to come but Cristina wouldn’t listen not will the locals listen to reason. She also begins to have nightmares about an experience she had upon her arrival in the town’s ruins. She soon learns why she has been kidnapped.
Cristina learns that she may have a demon inside of her and it is up Miranda, Javi, and Javi’s grandmother, a bruja, to exorcise the demon out of Cristina. At first skeptical, Cristina begins to exhibit strange behavior. Things get worse when the bruja begins to pull strange things from Cristina during an exorcism. Javi and Cristina bond when Javi reveals a connection as to why he is involved. Only the bruja and her old ways may be the key to get the demon out of Cristina once and for all.
This is a film that is about facing your demons, both in a literal and figurative manner. Writer Marcos Gabriel and director Christopher Alender crafted and envisioned a very dark film that juxtaposes both the present day and flashbacks that explain the story more fully. There is loads of tension that keeps the film going and just when we think it is over or about to be, a new twist comes in and keeps the excitement going.
Brigitte Kali Canales churns a wonderful performance as Cristina, our protagonist who is forced to pay a potentially deadly price for her aspirations. We learn in the flashbacks that she is denied the chance to do a story about sorcery and legends in her homeland of Mexico. And yet, as a journalist, there are times when you must take the risk and she does just that. However, aside from Canales, Julia Vera is excellent as Luz, the “bruja” who plans to do all she can to exorcise the demonic force that has entered Cristina. What’s interesting is that the demon takes its take to plague Cristina, but it is worth the wait as we see the titular “old ways” of this level of exorcism.
The always great Sal Lopez brings a more grounded performance as Javi, Luz’s grandson who supports her in the exorcising of Cristina. In a very emotional moment, the two find themselves bonding over a game as Cristina wants the demon out while Javi can relate as the connection aside from Luz is revealed. Andrea Cortes rounds out the core cast as Miranda, Cristina’s cousin who had warned her not to come back to La Boca, the ancient ruins where the demon calls its home. She attempts to help Luz and Javi as more emotional support if anything. The twists lead to a surprisingly shocking finale that even made my jaw drop somewhat.
The Old Ways is a pretty good haunting film that takes the literal and figurative meanings of facing your demons. Brigitte Kali Canales and Julia Vera are the reasons to see this film as they churn out performances that elevate this above other “exorcism” films.
WFG RATING: A-
Dark Star Pictures presents a Soapbox Films production. Director: Christopher Alender. Producers: Christa Boarini, David Grove Churchill Viste, and T. Justin Ross. Writer: Marcos Gabriel. Cinematography: Adam Lee. Editing: Matt Blundell.
Cast: Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cortes, Julia Vera, Sal Lopez, A.J. Bowen, Weston Meredith, Julian Lerma, Elizabeth Phoenix Caro, Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez.