(director/writer: Luis Javier Henaine; screenwriter: Ricardo Aguado-Fentanes, based on his story; cinematographer: Glauco Bermudez; editor: Jorge Macaya; music: Alejandro Otaola; cast: Harold Torres (Santiago), Teté Espinoza (Marcela, Nurse), José Manuel Poncelis (Chaman), Vicky Araico (Lupe), Fermin Martinez (Catoche) Norma Reyna (Leonor); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Gerardo Gatica/Luis Javier Henaine; Netflix; 2022-Mexico-in Spanish with English subtitles)

“A well-conceived, atmospheric horror thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A well-conceived, atmospheric horror thriller by Mexican director-writer Luis Javier Henaine (“Ready to Mingle”/”Happy Times”) that’s scripted by Ricardo Aguado-Fentanes.

It tells a witchcraft slow-burn story, that effectively uses noir and occult filming techniques to tell its chilling story about trying to overcome a deadly curse.

It’s set in Mexico, where the insensitive, amoral Santiago (Harold Torres) is an ambitious crime photojournalist who provides the newspapers front page pictures of grisly crime scenes. But his career is going nowhere, as he hopes one day his work would be considered art and hung in galleries.

Santiago’s supportive wife for the last 14 years, Marcela (Tete Espinoza), becomes pregnant and vows to keep the child he does not want. This causes problems for the self-centered Santiago in his married life.

At a murder crime scene of a dead senator, he mysteriously receives a deadly curse when he attracts the attention of a witch–sent there by the dead senator’s rival. Because of the curse, he will lose each of his five senses, one at a time, unless he can get a bruja to help him become free of the curse and he changes his selfish ways.

His medic wife gives him a physical but can’t help, neither can the hospital.

It checks out as a chilling horror pic with with fine cinematography by DP Bermudez. Tenseness develops as Santiago is losing all his senses and struggling to see if he can change his life of not caring about any one but himself.

Though a minor film, it’s realistically directed by Henaine, offers a compelling story and is superbly acted by Torres. But the drawn-out story requires patience from the viewer.

It played at Fantastic Fest.