Review: Satanic Hispanics

Whilst I was sick, I decided I would watch an anthology horror movie because if I fell asleep partway through it would be easy to pick up later. So I started Satanic Hispanics prepared to nod off (especially since it’s 2 hours long, which feels like a lot when you’re exhausted from being sick) and wound up watching the whole thing!

It’s a very fun movie—not as good as the best of the V/H/S movies, but far, far better than the worst of the V/H/S movies.

The frame story, The Traveler, is pretty weak stuff despite Efran Ramirez’s excellent performance. The frame story is supposed to tie the other segments together, but in this case, it’s mostly Ramirez being interrogated by police and telling them stories that are completely unrelated to the stuff he’s trying to convince them of.

The first story, Tambien Lo Vi, is an unsettling tale of how a guy uses a Rubik’s Cube algorithm to open a portal to the land of the dead. It’s creepy and effective and Demian Saloman turns in a great performance as the unhinged cube solver.

The next, El Vampiro, was my favorite. It definitely hits the comedy harder than the horror, but I don’t mind that in a horror comedy as long as it’s actually funny. There’s one bit in particular involving vampiric hypnosis that goes on way too long and therefore goes through that cycle where it’s funny and then not funny and then suddenly funnier because it just doesn’t stop. Anyway, I’m always on board for bumbling vampires, and the end of this was actually quite sweet without being treacly or manipulative.

In Nahuales, a guy…I dunno, gets captured by some unded pre-Aztec tribe or something? Atmosphere was good, but there wasn’t really all that much of a story. (In fairness to the filmmakers, I should point out that this is the point in the movie at which the edible kicked in, so I may have missed subtleties or not-so-subtleties.)

The Hammer of Zanzibar was another comedic segment that…I mean, either you find dildos inherently hilarious or you don’t. I count myself in the former category, so I enjoyed this. I’ve seen complaints of this segment being homophobic, but I, a straight white guy and therefore the final arbiter of what is and is not offensive, did not read it that way. (spoiler incoming!) To me, the joke of the flashback story wasn’t that the guy was gay—it was that we think he’s going to tell a harrowing story of fighting a demon, but he winds up seriously oversharing about his sex life. Anyway, your mileage may vary, of course.

And then we get the wrapup of The Traveler, which is fun, but…well, like I said, the whole story was pretty meh.

Overall a movie I would definitely recommend to horror fans, especially those who want to see more diversity in the genre.

Honestly, horror from different perspectives and cultures is, for me, a small hopeful light in the darkness of….well, you know, everything. It reminds us of our shared humanity in a real and visceral way! What’s not to love?!

#review #horror #shudder