Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Old Ways - Movie Review

The Movie: The Old Ways

The Director: Christopher Alender

The Cast: Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cortés, Julia Vera, Sal Lopez, AJ Bowen

The Story: When a Mexican American reporter returns to her ancestral homeland of Veracruz chasing a story on witchcraft and faith healers, she becomes the subject of her own story.

The Interview:

The Review:
Wow, this movie was a really fun surprise and a totally new spin on the classic exorcism story. There's nothing typical or been there done that about the story as director Christopher Alender and writer Marcos Gabriel take a journey into Mexican folk lore, witch craft, and demonic possession. The scares are real and the intensity is on par with some of the best horror movies I have seen in recent years. 

For the most part, this movie is set in a single location which gives it a very creepy, claustrophobic feeling that is hard to shake. The room where we see most of the story play out has some dark, shadowy corners that are perfect for things to hide in and you never know when they might jump out and scare the crap out of you. A lot of the scares actually come from when things are going crazy for Cristina, the lead character played by Brigitte Kali Canales, and neither you or her have any idea what's happening.

Speaking of Brigitte Kali Canales, her performance is definitely one of the highlights of the movie and it was fun to watch her physical, emotional, and psychological transformations all take place as the story plays out. There are several twists and turns and each step of the way she handles the character's evolution in a way that is empowering and kind of inspiring when you see how she conquers demons in both metaphorical and literal ways.

The entire cast is actually really good with strong performances from Andrea Cortés as Cristina's cousin, Julia Vera who has had an amazing career with appearances in everything from Speed to Ant-Man and the Wasp, and also Sal Lopez who has had quite the career as well with roles in movies like Full Metal Jacket and Selena.

I really hope this movie will have a life outside of the festival circuit as it absolutely deserves to have as many people see it as possible. The look and feel of the movie is unique and it goes places that are unexpected and fun to watch play out. It also doesn't suffer from trying to be too big for its own good, it pretty much stays exactly where it needs to be and all of the effects work is spot on perfect. I don't believe there was any CGI used, maybe in one or two spots but it all looks great.

The Verdict:
The Old Ways is a highly effective and entertaining horror movie that features a knockout performance from Brigitte Kali Canales. This is easily one of the best horror movies I have watched this year and who knows, maybe we will see more of Cristina the demon killer in further adventures down the road.

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