A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war.A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war.A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war.
Written & directed by Issa López, the film paints an unflinching portrait of everyday tragedy unfolding in modern-day Mexico, brought upon by the cartel violence in the wake of the ongoing drug war, and captures it through the eyes of children who are left orphaned & traumatised by these day-to-day atrocities. López's direction is top-notch, and her documentary-like approach delivers the desired impact.
The tone & treatment of López's latest film bears striking resemblance to the works of Guillermo del Toro but there's also an uncompromising quality to it that gives the story her own touch. The interaction between the kids retains its childlike simplicity, the unity they exhibit as a group brims with an authentic feel and these child actors with no prior acting experience are surprisingly natural at articulating the necessary emotions.
The horror aspects are neatly carried out, for the film's deserted setting & uncanny aura reeks with terror, plus the jump scares are effectively carried out as well. But the spectral touches are still no match to the terrifying & harrowing barbarity that's perpetrated by the cartels in this picture. At well-paced 83 mins, the narrative isn't longer than it needs to be although there are a few hiccups as far as editing goes.
On an overall scale, Tigers Are Not Afraid is an unadulterated depiction of the loss of innocence that's as gripping as it is disturbing, and as intelligently executed as it is deftly layered. Steered by Issa López's no-nonsense direction & excellent writing, strengthened by its raw camerawork, menacing score & impressive use of genre(s) elements, and all the more uplifted by stellar work from its novice cast, this Mexican horror lives up to its reputation for the most part, if not all. A definite must.
- Oct 15, 2019