MADRE DE DIOS (MOTHER OF GOD), written by Shane McKenzie and Gigi Saul Guerrero, and directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, is a beautifully creepy foray into alternative religions. The set design perfectly matches the mood of the film, and the audio seamlessly syncs with the visuals, creating a perfect setup for the rites about to take place. The special effects makeup, the gore, and computer effects are all executed in a manner I wouldn’t normally expect from a short – they’re really well done, and not over the top.
The film opens on a couple (Gabriela Reynoso Cerecero and Luis Javier Gutierrez) washing away the remains of a ceremony, and we learn in flashbacks just what that ceremony is…
We come upon the Madre de Dios (Tristan Risk), bound, waiting in fear, for whatever horrors may come. The smoke filled room, drumming, Catholic icons, molcajetes, barren trees, all set the stage for a ritual. A new god is to be born, and Tristan Risk is about to be the unwilling mommy. This is my second time reviewing Ms. Risk in a film, and for as different as the two films are, she continues to give solid performances, making me look forward to more of her work. The chanting begins, the body anointed, an unholy hand creates a rapidly growing fetus. Childbirth is a bloody, gore filled mess no matter how it happens, and apparently more so when it happens during a ritual.
In the end, the happy couple have a new baby, a new god, thanks to the involuntary Santa Maria.
MADRE DE DIOS was really well done, especially for a movie that has chanting, but no actual lines. The emotions evoked by Risk were genuine, and the creepiness of Gutierrez played extremely well off each other. Definitely give this film your time!
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