Take a Sip: every time there’s boobs!
Do a Shot: anytime you close your eyes or turn away from the screen.
Take a Sip: after each one of those damn brutal closing credit sequences.
Take a Sip: every time someone vomits
Do a Shot: if that vomit goes into another’s mouth
By: The Cinephiliac (Two Beers) –
There are few films that can actually shock me these days. My genre of choice is horror, but many horror films have a tendency to run cold, losing their steam due to a crumbling plot line or a poor story to begin with. Mexico Barbaro is not one of those films. This vignette-styled compilation is collectively clever, disgusting, and horrifying. Eight separate stories get featured and each one carries its own weight, bringing something unique and creepy to Mexico Barbaro and horror films as a whole. Each story gets neatly wrapped into a shocking little box that can scare the shit out of you if you watch it under the right conditions: quiet room, lights off, sound up, and plenty of booze in your system. Simply put, Mexico Barbaro ain’t playing around. It’s not here to lightly thrill you or make you gasp. It’s here to wreck your world and make you cringe in your skin and scream “what. the. fuck!?” multiple times throughout. I needed a shot and a cigarette after Mexico Barbaro and I don’t even smoke!
Give me all the cigarettes and help me to forget!
If V/H/S/ and the likes of Eli Roth are your type of horror, then Mexico Barbaro will be a welcomed addition to your collection. It combines the best of both elements, but jacks them up with a steroid shot to make everything more ridiculous and gorier than you could imagine. By saying ridiculous, I don’t mean that this film will make you laugh. This isn’t like Trick ‘r Treat where there’s a fine line between satire and horror– although there a few ridiculously funny moments in the film. Instead, Mexico Barbaro wants to give you nightmares. It shows you things you can’t unsee and puts dark ideas into your head that will make you second guess every new person you meet.
Every segment of the film has its own peaks and troughs, but overall the sound design is stunning and the cinematography is inclusively magnificent. Certain aesthetics are played with, like a throwback to 35mm styled 70s revenge horror. Lighting becomes a major triumph throughout each segment, achieving the ability to highlight the darkness of shadows and the stories that lie within them. The separate episodes all share a common desire to induce a visceral, physical reaction from audiences by showing us the most gruesome images it can. We see mangled human bodies in full display and what happens to them when they get stabbed or shot. We watch uncomfortable rape scenes and sexual deviancy sure to make you shrivel like a prune, and we witness with our own eyes some of the disfigured ghouls and monsters of various stories. Little action happens off screen, making the guts and gore the prime money shot.
Guts. It’s what for dinner.
Because of this, Mexico Barbaro is draining, especially since every story shows you something more fucked up than the last. While the special effects and make-up team deserve high praise for their detailed work, the excessive use of gore and rape feels exploitative and many times unnecessary. Mexico Barbaro is a classic example of “torture porn”. Though I hate that term as a description, it’s the best one that I can think of to describe a genre of horror that wants to shock you by frequently showing torment and disembodiment. For some people, this type of horror is effective, desired even. For me, it’s excessive and made me want to drink in hopes of forgetting what I had just seen.
Though over the top in what it displays, Mexico Barbaro is a genuinely great set of short films that will send chills down your spine or leave an unsettled feeling in the pit of your stomach, if not both. The films offer varying perspectives of fear based on Mexican legends and folklore, while each director showcases their talent for capturing these terrifying tales for the screen. The atmosphere of the film is also set by the musical direction and use of sound throughout, which is equally as impressive as the visuals, adding another layer to the overarching feeling of fright. I’d be incredibly interested to hear what Eli Roth thinks of this film!
Mexico Barbaro is out on video on demand and DVD November 3rd.