Luciferina (2018)

If you’ve been reading my writing for awhile, you may know that I’ve learned some rules from horror movies that have aided in my survival for the last forty some odd years. For example, I don’t do drugs or have sex in the woods. And I avoid old Hollywood actors and actresses. Now, thanks to Luciferina, I’ve added a new one: don’t drink Ayahuasca in a haunted church.

Natalia is a 19-year-old novice nun — who has never been baptized — who must return home when her mother dies and her father is in a coma. Her sister Angela blames her for leaving the family behind and claims that evil forces have been attacking the home. That makes sense — her father claims that their mother repeatedly cut herself, painted a series of uterus heavy imagery and then attacked him.

Angela has fallen in with a bad crowd while at university, as she’s constantly high and dealing with her abusive boyfriend Mauro. As time goes on, however, we learn that Natalia may not be the pure innocent that she appears to be — she’s at war with the desires in her body as she tries to keep her spiritual marriage pure with God.

Natalia decides to join her sister’s friends as they partake in an Ayahuasca ritual, which often means vomiting or defecating repeatedly on the road to enlightenment before visions take hold. These visions don’t erase the dark parts of the soul, as promised. Instead, they cause murder, self-mutilation, revelations about the girls’ parents and set Natalia up for a one-on-one confrontation with Satan in the human form of Abel, a boy who has had mental illness issues his entire life.

Writer/director Gonzalo Calzada also created the film Resurrection, which was the most successful horror movie in the history of Argentina. This is the first of his “The Trinity of the Virgins,” films that will be centered around virgin girls batting demons. His imagery is dreamlike and its intriguing to see a non-Italian or American take on demonic possession.

Luciferina makes the narrative leap from possession film to slasher to arthouse freakout by the end of its running time. There’s a pretty sinister image of Abel sitting with all of the bodies of his victims stacked up on the altar that leads into the final confrontation. Natalia attempts to protect herself with both a pentagram and a gun before learning that she can use her light to destroy the evil that is inside her former love interest.

Calzada has the makings of being a great director. I would have cut this one down by around a half an hour, but I also have no attention span. That said, the last fifteen minutes of this film, where Natalia embraces her womanhood and sexually exorcizes the demons inside Abel, is on the level of bonkers The Exorcist clones like Enter the Devil and The Return of the Exorcist. This is also a film that echoes the Psycho shower scene with its heroine feeling herself until three gigantic cockroaches appear, frightening her back into being chaste.

You can get your own copy of this film on DVD/blu ray via Amazon or you can stream it on on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu and more. You can also visit the official page for the film.

Disclaimer: I was sent this film by its PR team, but that has no impact on my review.

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