Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival Movie Review: LUCIFERINA (2018)

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Serving up a story to be fairly gory and unpredictable, LUCIFERINA, having played during the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival last week, contains qualities of combating innocence with a dark and devious inner nature. Directed by Gonzalo Calzada, this new Argentinian mystery/horror film is sure to dish out bloody scenarios with an interesting story on the side.

On her way to visit her dying father, Natalia (Sofia Del Tuffo) returns home to find her sister with her delinquent friends squatting at their house. With their drug and alcohol use becoming unbearable, Natalia avoids them to spend time with her father, leading her to see strange and demonic creatures visiting her dreams in the night. Eventually being convinced by her sister and her friends, Natalia ventures with them deep into the jungle to experience the spirituality of the ceremonial plant ayahuasca, leading each of them down a rabbit hole of hallucinations and unraveling the deep seeded purpose of her family, and the devil himself.

Going into this film blindly, LUCIFERINA first feels itself moving in a particular direction, but eventually transforms into having several layers. The direction initiated seemed to predict a story about a girl born of the devil; a story solely of her progression of evil, but that ends up not being the case. This film focuses on the main character’s duality against herself, of her two sides, as she unknowingly portrays the devil incarnate with a soul of purity. This creates interesting paths for the plot to take, allowing for an ending with an unexpected character conflict. A plot like this pertaining to the premise of duality allows for juxtaposing elements to naturally flow through what’s depicted on screen - Natalia fights to uphold her virginal, religious lifestyle while housing inner dark secrets, along with the concept of drugs acting as a numbing agent to life’s harsh events, while also being the source of awakening and revealment in this situation.

From satanic, spiritualized dreamscapes to amazonian shamans (along with a pretty unnerving sex scene with the devil), LUCIFERINA houses some tasty traditional gore effects and digital animated imagery to leave its genre audience satisfied, and a little uncomfortable. The story is a tad wild, but interesting enough to bring something new to the table, while containing elements that make independent horror so likable. With the haunting and beautiful cinematography portrayed here, it’s hard not to be transfixed by the art direction and overall concept that, all together, creates a devilishly fun and suspenseful film.

Abigail Braman