Starting a new week with an actual theme instead of just doing whatever I actually want to watch and this week is a tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month. I like to do at least a week of foreign language films for Horrortoberfest and we will be diving right in with a movie set on the Mexican/U.S. border. I knew nothing going into this but was surprised to see the guy that played Jigsaw from the Saw movies was in this.
Content Warning: This movie starts with and has a running theme of the murder of children. While no bodies are directly shown, there are some pretty gruesome crime scenes and violence is indirectly shown.
This movie centers around several plot points that all merge together by the end. There is a cop that is grieving and is tied closely to the cases of children that have been killed. A mother and her son that keep managing to just barely avoid tragedy. Finally, a priest that always seems to be in the thick of things that may or may not have something to do with the murders that are going on. By the end of the movie. you don’t know who to trust and what exactly the evil that plagues these people is going to do.
I found myself liking this movie but it definitely feels like it goes on for slightly longer than it needs to at a run time of 2 hours. The first half of this film plays out like a supernatural crime thriller, with the Mexican police having to partner up with a White paranormal researcher in order to find some clue as to why these child murders keep happening. The second half ends up being a much more straightforward direct possession/demonic influence film where the evil isn’t just something in the background but is taking an active and malicious hand in things. I especially like that this demarcation is split from a before and after the characters have an actual full on encounter with evil such that previously it was an idea that was around but not taken seriously (like a Christian that never goes to church) but then becomes a known force that is truly present.
I appreciate the idea that the Messiah would be born in Mexico because, as the movie states, it has to take place in a country that is oppressed by an empire. With this country having literal children in cages and performing inhumane operations on people; I think the comparison is apt. Joaquin Cosio does an amazing job in here playing a dispirited cop that starts out seemingly uncaring and just wanting a scapegoat for the murders and then goes through a lot of transformations throughout the film. The commentary on police, politics, and religion is probably why the movie goes on for as long as it does.
If you have the patience for it, I think Belebuth pays off and is worth watching but it definitely drags in some places. Also the whole child murder thing might put you off and I wouldn’t blame you. In all, a pretty decent start to the new theme week.
Rating: 4 out of 5