Director: Eduardo Rodriguez
Screenplay: Robert Rodriguez, Luz Maria Rojas, Eduardo Rodriguez
Starring: Carlos Gallardo, Gizeht Galatea, Gabriel Pingarrón
Producers: Luz Maria Rojas
Running Time: 92 min
BBFC Rating: 18
Carlos (Gallardo) is a curandero, a Mexican healer that specialises in exorcism. He is approached by beautiful policewoman Magdalena (Galatea) and asked to rid a police station of an evil spirit. Magdalena is not finished there and enlists Carlos in a quest to defeat the local mafia, and the demons it has aligned with. The pair are dragged into the bloody, seedy underworld and must fight for their survival.
Curandero: Dawn of the Demon is, on the surface, a gory psychological thriller with horror elements, it is certainly not a slasher flick. In Carlos, we find a man who continues in his father’s footsteps, and shadow, as the local curandero. He is constantly haunted by visions of the future and can see demons that walk among us. Magdalena was helped by Carlos’ father as a young girl and seeks his help, only to find he is not around anymore. Both roles are ably handled and we see the characters grow, as does their relationship.
Gore is abundant in this movie and every opportunity has been utilised to get it onscreen. Whether bodies are crucified or simply ripped apart, to visions of gruesome deaths it is all here with nothing left to the imagination, so be warned! The violence and action can get a little bizarre at times, though just manages not to become laughable.
Curandero is steeped in Mexican culture which can be a little confusing at times but does not detract from the story. I watched this in Spanish with English subtitles, but there is a dubbed soundtrack available.
Having languished on a shelf at Miramax for eight years, Curandero deserves a release. It is out on DVD on 20th May.
Review by Keiran McGreevy