Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
The Old Ways follows Cristina Lopez (Brigitte Kali Canales). The Mexican American reporter goes to her ancestral homeland of Veracruz in search of witches. Her journey leads her to learning more about herself than she expected. It is not long before the movie has its first jump scare. The Old Ways is not shy about using them as they are a regular part of the film. That being said, it does not make the mistake of relying on them. The movie is much more content to rely on suspense and mystery.
The narrative is an interesting one. Cristina starts the movie in captivity. As The Old Ways progresses, a variety of methods are used to explain what has happened. From conversations in the modern time to flashback sequences, the movie does a good job of filling in the gaps. This also keeps the audience wanting to know more about the reporter.
The Old Ways quickly shows Cristina is not the typical heroine or final girl. It becomes apparent that the demon inside of her actually does exist. The real question is how much is of her own doing? Over time, the movie becomes a very interesting psychological drama. While it never loses its horror aspects, The Old Ways morphs into something more than just another scary movie. It is a unique take on the familiar premise of what is real and imagined.
Canales is great in the lead role. She is equal parts frightened, determined, and angry with what is happening. She sometimes laughs things off a little too easily, however. It may be Cristina’s defense mechanism, but it does ruin the immersion in some moments. The Old Ways is an engaging twist on a tried and true horror trope. The movie provides enough clues to make viewers think they have figured things out. A twist in the third act see things become less nuanced but remain enjoyable.
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