The Old Ways (2020) Film Review

Director: Christopher Alender

Writer: Marcos Gabriel

Stars: Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cortés, Julia Vera

RATING: 3 Stars

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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. – From IMDB

Demon possession horror films have been around the block a time or two. Every now and then a few will come along that do it right; The Exorcist, Poltergeist, the first 2 Conjuring films. The rest of them tend to be ripping off the tropes set up in these films, and never quite managing to pull it off quite as well. This film could have easily landed itself with an even worse rating, had it been set in the run of the mill suburban house, with creepy kids and a perfect, all American family. It’s blending of Mexican folklore, gory visuals and those tropes we mentioned earlier, made it a bit more interesting though.

I am not Mexican, I don’t know how many liberties have been taken here with the mythology and folklore that they are dealing with, but as a casual observer, it all seemed done really well, and at least appears authentic, even if it isn’t. This rich Mexican backdrop to the story is easily the most intriguing thing here, with rituals, beliefs and even demons that I, as a white woman, raised in a predominantly Christian area, have never heard of. It makes a change from your Catholic Priests and upside down crucifixes.

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The rest of the story, the characters, the plot, the writing, are all very average however. The dialogue could be very clunky, not at all at home with the richly developed background. We are literally thrown into the story immediately, without any build up or backstory, and the rest of the narrative is shown only in very brief flashbacks, with very little elaboration. The character development of our main lady happens almost instantly. She abandons all her beliefs, goes along with the rituals whole heartedly, magically gives up her drug addiction, and learns herself how to conduct the rituals on other people, all very quickly and conveniently.

This is obviously set up for a sequel, but I will be surprised if audience interest will allow for that. Overall this is kind of what I expected from it, but with a bit of un interesting setting to set is apart from others.

‘The Old Ways’ is available to stream on Netflix Now!

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