Dir. Michelle Garza Cervera | Mexico/Peru | 2022 | 93 mins
Valeria (Natalia Solián) and Raul (Alfonso Dosal) have their hopes set on becoming parents; so much so that they pay a visit to a huge monument of the Virgin Mary to ask for help. Eventually, their wish is granted, but cracks quickly start to form as Valeria feels the growing pressure of impending motherhood. Her toxic family continually remind her that she is lacking a maternal instinct, having once dropped her sister’s child down some stairs while babysitting, and she finds it hard to reconcile her former self – a fiery and rebellious punk musician – with her idea of what a perfect mother should look like. As Valeria’s stress intensifies, she begins having visions of a malevolent creature, which descends into reality to torment her, setting fire to the cot that Valeria has been making and haunting her with nightmarish apparitions. In her desperation, Valeria seeks to have her spirit cleansed, but her salvation may actually lie in the life she left behind.
A searing, nightmarish feminist horror that explores weighty themes of maternal anxiety, identity and guilt, HUESERA blends dark symbolism and folk horror mythology as the relationship between pregnant bodies, loss of bodily autonomy, and demonic forces is examined. Supernatural horror elements inject tension into an already unsettling premise via superbly crafted scares, alongside disturbing moments of body horror. The richly developed character of Valeria adds another dimension to this impressive feature debut, and as she navigates pregnancy while grappling with her own perceptions of domesticity and motherhood, we must confront society’s cruelly unrealistic expectations of women.
Screening with SKIN & BONE + EVERYBODY GOES TO THE HOSPITAL