LUCIFERINA *** Argentina 2018 Dir: Gustavo Calzada. 111 mins
Estranged from her family for two years, novice nun Natalia (Sofia Del Tuffo) returns home when her mother dies in an accident that leaves her dad seriously injured. Her hostile, sexy Goth sis Angela (Malena Sanchez) talks ominously of their mum’s apparent “possession” while a series of disturbing nightmares forecast horrors to come. Del Tuffo’s sympathetic performance grounds this overblown though often interesting Argentinian take on familiar territory.
Black haired, hunched female spectres, shower masturbation to a disembodied Latin voice and blasphemous, insulting demon-possessed characters (“You menopausal bitch!”) reflect a range of influences including Ken Russell, J-horror and the wave of 21st century American variations on THE EXORCIST. It drowns in exposition as the sisters travel to a former asylum to perform a rite, while revelations – including incestuous abuse – abound in between cackling, lewd demon action and icky birth scenes. Director Calzada isn’t above bog standard jump scares and sub-par CGI foetuses, and the movie is derivative when it should be pushing the envelope. The charismatic, attractive cast help save it, and the denouement delivers a subversive, sexually explicit set piece that Hollywood would shirk from, resulting in the comely protagonist spending most of the final half hour naked.
Review by Steven West