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With: Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cortés, Julia Vera, Sal Lopez, AJ Bowen, Weston Meredith, Julian Lerma, Elizabeth Phoenix Caro, Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez
Written by: Marcos Gabriel
Directed by: Christopher Alender
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 90
Date: 08/25/2021

The Old Ways (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Home Bruja

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Journalist Cristina (Brigitte Kali Canales) finds herself locked in a room. She had traveled to Veracruz to do a story. She's of Mexican heritage, but can't speak Spanish. She tries to understand what's going on as an old woman (Julia Vera), face covered in paint, and an unsmiling man (Sal Lopez) with floppy gray hair, occasionally look in on her. Suddenly Cristina is shocked to see her cousin Miranda (Andrea Cortés), who explains in English that she, Cristina, has a demon inside of her, and they hope to exorcise it. That's the start of The Old Ways, an outstanding horror film written by Marcos Gabriel and directed by Christopher Alender, that crosses cultural commentary with powerful, creepy tension. The film equates the confined space of the room with Cristina's limited knowledge of her culture, and cleverly builds the mystery of just what the demon inside her could be (if there is one). The brilliant ending only increases the mystery and expands the discourse.

The Blu-ray release by Dark Star is most impressive. It includes a commentary track by writer Marcos Gabriel and director Christopher Alender, 22 minutes of deleted scenes, a feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary, The Old Ways: A Look Beyond, storyboards, and trailers for this and other Dark Star releases. I love this film already, but the high quality and plethora of extras on this disc make it highly recommended.

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