Amulet is a Must See [Review]

There’s a rule in creative writing: a story shouldn’t start with a character waking up. Writer/director Romola Garai breaks it twice in Amulet and the film is better for it. Her confidence and strong social commentary in her feature-length directorial debut make Amulet a must watch movie. 

As previously noted, Amulet opens with Tomas (Alec Secareanu) waking up in a cabin in the woods. He’s on what looks like an air mattress with an assault rifle leaning on the wall behind him. He’s a soldier in an unnamed war, stationed far from the action because his mother did some free dental work for his commanding officer. It’s peaceful until Miriam (Angeliki Papoulia) charges down the dirt road toward his cabin. He’s supposed to shoot her, but when she passes out, he carries her back to his cabin instead. 

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The Old Ways Revitalizes Exorcism Movies [Review]

Director Christopher Alender and Marcos Gabriel tell a different kind of exorcism story in The Old Ways. After witnessing her mother’s failed exorcism as a child, Cristina (Brigitte Kali Canales) was sent from Mexico to the U.S.  She returns to Veracruz as an adult for an assignment. She’s supposed to be researching, “a story on the local tribes and culture,” but finds herself in a prison cell with a burlap sack over her head instead. Screenwriter Marcos Gabriel (who previously collaborated with Alender on Memorial Day and Muppets Now) drops breadcrumbs, building toward why she’s there.

According to her abductors, Luz (Julia Vera) and Luz’s adult son Javi (Sal Lopez), a demon possessed Cristina when she visited a mysterious cave called La Boca (Spanish for “the mouth”). Cristina insists that couldn’t have happened because demons aren’t real and begs her captors to contact her cousin Miranda (Andrea Cortés). And in the meantime, would they please just give her her bag. She doesn’t say it, but there’s some heroin in there and she needs it. 

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