Satanic Hispanics Review: Cultural Riches Meet Cinematic Misses
“Satanic Hispanics” attempts to be a patchwork quilt of horror, stitched together with threads of Latino folklore and ambition. This anthology, a compendium of tales as diverse as the cultures they represent, aims to transcend the traditional boundaries of horror. However, it finds itself ensnared in the very tropes it seeks to redefine.
The film unfurls its narrative through the eyes of “The Traveler,” a haunted figure woven into a modestly engaging wrap-around story. His tale serves as the loom on which the other segments are intricately interlaced. Yet, despite his world-weary charisma, the material feels insubstantial, often relying on a repetitive loop of warnings and explanations that quickly wear thin. The Traveler’s segment, much like the rest of the anthology, stretches beyond its conceptual prowess, suggesting potential that remains frustratingly unfulfilled.
The individual stories that constitute “Satanic Hispanics” range from the visually arresting to the narratively uneventful. “Nahuales,” directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, starts promisingly with a gripping premise involving a CIA collaborator ensnared by Mexican animal-men. This segment, replete with impressive folk-horror makeup, hints at a deeper exploration that never fully materializes, leaving the viewer craving a more fleshed-out narrative. Similarly, “También Lo Vi” offers an atmospheric ghost story that captivates with its mood-lit setting but eventually succumbs to an anti-climactic and overly familiar resolution.
Each story is marked by its distinct flavor and cultural nuances, reflecting the varied tapestry of Latin America. Yet, the anthology’s cohesion suffers, with segments often feeling disjointedly strung together. “El Vampiro” stands out as a comical interlude, where a vampire’s forgetfulness of daylight saving time leads to a series of misadventures. While Hemky Madera’s physical comedy infuses life into the segment, it stumbles over its sketched pacing and threadbare jokes, ultimately gasping for air in a landscape of underdeveloped humor.
The most jarring of these tales, “The Hammer of Zanzibar,” treads into territory that uncomfortably blends stereotypes and tasteless humor, overshadowing its creative aspirations. This story’s reliance on hackneyed tropes and insipid dialogue detracts from the anthology’s overarching theme, illustrating a lack of vision and vigor that permeates the film.
“Satanic Hispanics” does, however, shine in its display of make-up effects and some performances that resonate with their characters, particularly in segments that lean into the grotesque. The visual artistry and the cast’s commitment to their roles occasionally elevate the material, but these moments are fleeting, overshadowed by the anthology’s overall inconsistency and lack of imaginative execution.
“Satanic Hispanics” falls short of the mark set by more successful horror anthologies. While it ambitiously attempts to weave together stories from a rich cultural background, it struggles to find a coherent voice or a clear sense of purpose. The film occasionally teases with glimpses of what could have been, particularly in its more inventive moments, but ultimately, it remains an uneven and underwhelming addition to the genre.
RATING: 2.0 out of 5.
Satanic Hispanics is now available for streaming.