Gonzalo Calzada’s Luciferina added exoticism of being demonic possession and satanic rites, something missing in many of the films in this arena of horror, it reminds one of Jess Franco’s famed works, yes mostly exploitation; has his latest film Luciferina released by Artsploitation Films. Another aspect of Gonzalo’s movie the using of an actual substance that real people use, not a fake drug, this natural item ayahuasca vine little known outside the Americas, traditionally mixed into a tea for use in spiritual ceremonies. It induces powerful hallucinations, feelings of glorious life experiences (reported by some) but often feeling of death nightmarish moments all to discover themselves lasting for 10 to 12 hours, and that is what is portrayed in the film, while Shaman stands guard over the precipitants. If you are unfamiliar with the plant used in the film an equivalent may found in payola of the Native Americans to contact the spiritual world., as pure trivial note Roman Catholicism has become Argentina’s dominant religion, I mention this as these two aspects confront each other in the film, although eludes the negativity.
Natalia (Sofía Del Tuffo) a 19-year-old woman, ready to dedicate herself to becoming a nun while she enjoys her daily routines and aiding troubled teens and drug addicts until another duty comes calling upon to leave the church. Her father (Vando Villamil) becomes seriously injured from a nasty fall, and during this perilous time Mother Superior (Victoria Carreras) tells her return to look after him, and when ready return to the church. As a dutiful daughter and wanting to become a nun she obeys even though her homelife is full of turmoil and evils, her mother’s unusual death, paintings of black arts, and rampant free-will behavior exist there now. Once home she discovers her sister Angela (Malena Sánchez), absorbed a few mysterious traits, noted as the best student in psychology at the university but shaken up with an abusive boyfriend Mauro Francisco Donovan), one her friend even disproves of having any association. After a short time at home Mauro becomes negative to her religion and questioning it in a condensing mode, until one day he makes the aggressive maneuver to attempt to rape Natalia after a shower. One day Angela and her friends venture to a shaman to experience a new trip in emotions, Mauro finds himself on the outs, and Natalia joins reluctantly, along with Abel (Pedro Merlo), Osvaldo (Gaston Cocchiarale) and Mara (Stefania Koessl) held at an old convent in the jungle a location rumored to have battled the devil on several occasions of exorcism. The location, the same one from Natalia’s dreams, this conveys wonderfully to the audience as Calzada weaves atmospheric film reality and dreams overlap, heightened with effects of the drug. Just the vines entangled the jungle so does the ceremony of the Shaman (Tomas Lipan) and the Catholic rituals with Natalia, ready to discovery more deeper meanings to her secretive visions and occult powers. Among them a woman screaming at a cemetery with nuns holding her down on an altar, the real possession by the Devil and herself as the chosen one to prophecy. One cannot go too far into he second half the film without destroying the visual display and ruining spoiler needless to say along with black masses, death scenes and the eroticism of sexual wanton lusts of a virgin on an altar in catholic ruins makes for an interesting visual trip. and deeply distressing births.
A few incredible lighting challenges occurred in the film, regarding the daylight shooting scenes, from rippling waters and sunlight reflecting off of many positions, however often made them to create a halo effect to fit the religious horror. The character of Mauro takes the role to a solid benchmark allowing corruption of a moral system to attempt the most offensive actions to an innocent woman, repulsive to some viewers, but shows the predator clear within himself. A few well deserving jump scares and explores the heated debate of religion, evil and sexuality, and does it deride itself from the concept of devilish enticement or God’s will.
First, noting this never achieves the customary devil or occult themes often used in many American or British exorcism films, it strives for another avenue perhaps either due budget constraints, or hopefully more than one way to tell a story of religious horror, Herein the filmmakers involve earthly representatives of angels and demons, layering Nuns and Cultists, though absent of the mix priests (thankfully) but keeps the possession of young nuns as its popularity never grows old, and never crosses into nunsploitation. Hence, if you enjoy horror told from other viewpoints, great however the major drawback, the subtitles appear for a few seconds, never allowing a reader to comprehend the scene or the words.
- Quien busca al diablo, lo encuentra. [Whoever looks for the devil, they might find it.]
- Seek the Devil, and He Will Come – Proverbs 11:27
IMDb Rating: 4.7/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10