Tuesday, March 12, 2019

LUCIFERINA (2018) Blu-ray review

Luciferina (2018) d. Gonzalo Calzada (Argentina) (111 min)

When a 19-year-old novice nun, Natalia (Sofia del Tuffo), reluctantly returns home to say goodbye to her dying father, family tensions reignite with her sister Angela (Malena Sanchez), as well as Angela’s violent boyfriend Mauro (Francisco Donovan). During her visit, Angela’s friends decide to travel into the jungle to meet up with a shaman who has distilled the liquid of a mystical healing (and potentially hallucinogenic/euphoric) plant. But instead of the ultimate high, they encounter terrifying visions, brutal slayings, and the sisters’ mysterious dark past rising up to haunt them.

Moody, atmospheric, and sporting a near two-hour run-time, this is not your average 21st century possession flick filled with quick cuts and jump scares. Though there are the usual tropes of glowing eyes and growling voices, there are a number of original twists brought to the table, not least of which being our young heroine’s ambivalence between her virginal vocation and her budding sexuality and attraction toward a young man, Abel (Pedro Merlo). (We see her masturbating in the shower within the first 15 minutes, but done in a healthy human way as opposed to simple prurience.)

Natalia also can read people’s auras, which she refers to as their “glow,” sensing their true disposition and the final confrontation features a unique cleansing of the evil spirit through intimacy… that’s right, folks, it’s an honest-to-goodness SEXORCISM. (How’s that for your exploitation battle cry?)

Led by Tuffo, the young ensemble turns in grounded and believable performances ranging from hysteria to quiet desperation and unlike, say, the recent Song of Solomon, the final product is artistically and aesthetically pleasing, with strong design elements (cinematography, sound design). A pre-credits logo announces this as the first film in Calzada's “La Trinidad de las Virgenes Saga” and I for one am curious to see where things go from here.

Luciferina is available now on DVD and Blu-ray (a theatrical trailer is the only extra) from Artsploitation Films and can be ordered HERE:



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