About time I got around to doing a review again here. Seriously. I didn't mean to go this long without a post. I have done a couple of reviews on my other blog at least. I found myself a bit depressed for a little while there. It hit me pretty hard one night, which is odd for me. I'm not normally someone who feels depressed for very long. I feel more upbeat now at least. It is hard to write when feeling depressed since I just didn't care. I didn't want that reflected in a review, so I just didn't write anything. Anyway, it is time for my at home review. I was going to watch another movie that Terry had sent to me, but I decided to watch a screener that I was given access to instead. Luciferina (2018) is now out there on DVD if you are interested in watching it.
Natalia (Sofía Del Tuffo) is a novice nun at the age of nineteen. She gets word that her parents were in an accident that has left her mother dead. Once Natalia returns home, she finds that her father isn't doing very well either and her sister Angela (Malena Sánchez) is giving her conflicting stories as to what happened. Angela tells Natalia that their mom has slowly been losing her mind and attacked their dad and then Angela accuses their dad of murdering their mother in order to get Natalia back home. Natalia learns that Angela and some of her friends plan to meet with a shaman who is said will unlock some of their memories. Angela believes there is something that their father isn't telling them, and this will help figure everything out. But the island the shaman is living on has secrets of its own. It was once used for black masses and something has been waiting for Natalia to return.
Luciferina was written and directed by Gonzalo Calzada. The film is from Argentina and is said to be their first horror film that deals with this subgenre. I was actually rather surprised at how well I liked this movie. I didn't fall in love with it, but it was better than I was expecting all the same. At almost two hours for a runtime, it is a slow burn. I watched it after getting off work and was feeling pretty tired going into this movie. I did find myself struggling to stay awake at first, but once the movie finds its mark, about an hour in, I wasn't feeling so tired after that. My main problem with the first hour was Angela and her friends. I didn't like any of them, especially the boyfriend who tells Natalia that he will kill Angela if she ever leaves him. Yes, he is one of those. The rest of her friends aren't as bad, but I still didn't care for any of them all that much. The transition from when things go really bad, which was right around the hour mark, could have been done better I thought. Natalia comes out of this dream-like state to find almost everyone she knows is dead or close to it. I suppose that it was shocking, but I felt they missed a chance to really mess with Natalia. I also felt that the stories timeline could have been better explained. I found it a little confusing at times, especially once we start to learn more about Natalia. Even so, the last hour mostly makes up for the things I didn't like. I know that this being the first attempt at this type of film for Argentina has nothing to do with the film itself, but I was still pretty impressed by it even if I didn't like everything about it. Natalia is an interesting character. I liked that she doesn't come across as a very strong person, but still manages to make some hard choices. I liked the story that they built around Natalia, even if it could have been explained better. It may not be the first time a nun, or someone who wants to become one, in this case, has a connection to a darker side but I still found it all interesting. Natalia seems to have some kind of power that lets her see the inner light of people. I could have done without that, but I found it weird that this power comes from this darker side of her. It didn't make complete sense to me, but I rolled with it.
I wouldn't really call the effects gory, but there are some nice effects to be found. Most of the effects are characters without their eyes which looked pretty good. The makeup for the guy who ends up being the bad guy in the film was also done very well. It was creepy without being over-the-top which is why I liked it so well. The acting was pretty good as well. While I didn't really like Angela and her friends, it wasn't from the acting side that they bother me. Sofia Del Tuffo was pretty good in the lead role. I enjoyed her acting and thought that while she is very pretty, she comes across as more of the girl next door type. I also like Abel, if I'm remembering his name right. IMDb doesn't give the character names, outside of Natalia's, so I'm not sure which actor played his part. Anyway, he did a really good job, especially playing it up when he was supposed to be possessed.
Luciferina takes a bit of an odd turn towards the end of the film and goes full-on erotica. I was surprised at how far it went, while also being surprised it didn't just go with it and push things further. Considering the characters involved, it was rather surprising to see them having sex. At the same time, Calzada is careful with his shots not to show too much. They may not have pushed it too far considering where the movie was made, or maybe the actors just didn't want to take it further. I'm not talking about seeing them having sex, I know that is out, but I thought they would show more nudity than we get. The reason for the sex scene, trying to save a soul, was a bit bizarre, but it works I suppose. The woman giving birth scene was also pretty strange, in a good way that is. Luciferina is an odd film, but I found that to be in its favor. I think some feel this movie is trying to jump on the bandwagon for The Nun, but I have two problems with that. They were apparently released around the same time and it isn't like Nun exploitation is a new subgenre. Anyway, if this sounds like something you would like, give it a try. You might just be as surprised by it as I was or get really bored by the slow pace.
3 out of 5 She should have withheld sex, that works better