I have always had a fascination with the legends and supernatural beings of cultures all over the world. Everyone in every culture in the world has stories of evil spirits or demonic entities that exist to only cause torment or strive to make deals with the living for either their body or their soul. One culture that is rich is story and superstition is that of Mexican and Mexican American culture. The short film, DR. MANDARU, set to tackle the story of one of these beings and its tie to a family.
DR. MANDARU was written and directed by Julian Baltazar. It stars Rufino Romero as Dr. Mandaru, Mariana Lopez as Sofia, Joe Chacon as Richard, Joanka Gonzalez as Malory, and Mo Mirza as young Richard. It follows a demon who has been tormenting the family since Sofia was young and has since moved on to her son, Richard, and then her granddaughter, Malory. Sofia will do anything to protect her son, even if it means sacrificing family.
This short film has a lot of potential but there are a few things that distract away from that so much that you are fighting the whole time to remember what you enjoyed about it. The first issue was the audio. Sometimes the voiceover was so loud, I had to turn my sound down but when Sofia talked, I couldn’t hear a word of it. Many times Spanish is spoken with no subtitles, so I’m not sure if I’m missing anything important. Speaking of missing things, many points in the story weren’t address and the biggest of which was time jumps. I was never sure who was related to whom because nothing is clearly explained and if I was, maybe I just couldn’t hear it.
The camera angles were simple but well thought out, so it was visually appealing except for Sofia’s old age makeup. My goodness, that was the true nightmare. Her old age makeup was scarier than the demon. Ah, the demon. Rufino Romero did really well as the demon because he was mostly just audio tracks until the end and he was the loudest of them all. While the demon’s makeup was more Halloween store than Hollywood, its simplicity kept it within reason. And DR. MANDARU did have some legitimate creepy moments.