Cinepocalypse 2018: Luciferina (2018 - dir. Gonzalo Calzada)

review by Patrick Ripoll

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Natalia (Sofia Del Tuffo) is a convent novice, fleeing some dark thing in her past. She has dark visions and sees auras circling the people around her. She has an unclear relationship with a young man there, an unresolved issue with her family, a tortured relationship with her sister. Some of these things will be answered by the end of Luciferina, a new possession horror film from Argentina, but very little will get more clear.

Luciferina is disjointed and sloppy by design, in love with the most irritating parts of the 70's Eurocult canon. We follow Natalia from her ominous convent to her childhood home where her mother has committed suicide and her father lays catatonic to a former mission in the jungle, and the film keeps teasing scares without ever actually deciding what kind of movie it wants to be. Spawn of Satan? Haunted house? Satanic panic? Druggy freak-out? Franco, Polanski, Rollin, oh my. It isn't until an hour in, when a shaman-directed Ayahuasca trip unlocks secrets of Natalia and her sister's past that the plot starts in earnest and even that section of the film abandons it's weak Evil Dead rehash soon after it starts.

The erotic-horror climax would be meaningless even if we had an investment in the characters at that point, but we don't and the ostensibly mind-blowing arthouse congress of good and evil is pure posturing. The ending comes as relief. One can imagine a version of this movie that never ends, listlessly gesturing towards the Mondo Macabro catalog forever.