The Old Ways

I’m always wary of supernatural horror involving exorcism and demons because such a subject matter is not be taken lightly. There is magic involved in invoking such things. Most people might not believe in such superstitions but for those that do, this movie does an excellent job at treating such ways with respect. The story unfolds in the midst of things, without a huge exposition dump, and lets the viewer try and piece things together. It’s about a woman, an American reporter, who comes to Veracruz to explore a lost culture. She ends up in the care of a bruja, a witch, who sees in her something that others do not. A demonic entity.

I liked this movie because it did not rely on jump scares, like most cheaply made horrors do. It uses imagery of tribal ways, of an older culture, to invoke a sense of mystery. The fear is a slow build up, and once things get under way, you are no longer scared but empowered against it. My hands were pools of sweat watching, but it wasn’t an outright fear, it was insidious. The character goes through a transformation, both physical and mental. She becomes a better person by the end. The acting was well done, maybe a little bit of a cheesy line here and there but nothing serious to detract from the story. I loved the camerawork, the out of focus shots to hide things in the background and to bring things to the forefront. With action primarily taking place in one location, the movie relied on the strength of the actors. Brigitte Kali Canales in the lead role was believable, and I enjoyed watching her go through denial before finally accepting that things are this way. This is how they’ve always been. Julia Vera as the bruja had an aura around her, you felt safe whenever she was on screen. Sal Lopez as the son of the bruja gave that feeling of a fatherly character, another to feel safe with. And Andrea Cortez as the cousin of the reporter did a good enough job, though a couple times, there was a little bit of a continuation error with her character but ultimately nothing too distracting.

Overall, I enjoyed it and I do recommend it if you’re in the market for some exorcism, demons, and confronting old wounds and healing them.