Z: Zombeer (2008)

We’re finally here at the tail-end of my half-a-Hubrisween observance, and what a hectic trip it’s been. You’re almost always going to be in zombie territory in an A-to-Z horror movie marathon, and because yours truly always like to game the system, here we are with a zombie holocaust movie that runs a trim 12 minutes.

Herman (Rogier Schippers) is the head brew master for Mokum Blond beer. He loves beer. Which is why he is drunk on the job every day. He is finally transferred to the night shift, so he won’t embarrass the company during tours. Of course, his first night he drunkenly falls into a tank and drowns, and the Mackenzie brothers will tell you that sucks. This also turns him into a zombie, because of course it does.

The day shift samples the beer and finds it a bit off, but they have to ship it out anyway, because it’s the Queen’s birthday (we’re in the Netherlands), and not shipping it out would be like closing Amity Beach on the Fourth of July. The first tour group to come through is a bunch of Japanese tourists, and they drink their free samples of the beer as Herman climbs out of the tank for some bitey vengeance on his boss and the day shift goes berserk.

Which is pretty much the end. Credits roll, with a Japanese newscast, featuring an interview with the only guy in the tour group to not drink the beer because he was too busy videoing everything. The newscast then shows his footage, starting with him trying to stop people from drinking the beer (to put it in more identifiable domestic terms, this would be like telling hordes of drunken sombrero-wearing gringos to stop drink margaritas on Cinco de Mayo), to the ensuing carnage, and that where you’re going to get your prime zombie fix. This stuff is well-staged and executed, and totally worth your while. Even the interview is nightmarish, with background screams and sirens and the world ending in general.

So congratulations to Berend de Voogd and Rob van der Velden, for not only having awesome names, but proving that an effective zombie movie can be done in 12 minutes.

Now can I finally watch Dune?

W: The WNUF Halloween Special (2013)

This one has been on my list for a long while, jumping up and down from behind my boxes of discs and going “Yoo hoo! Yoo Hoo!” so I’m glad I finally sat down and watched it – there are quite a few others waiting to take its place.

It’s ostensibly a videotape from October 31, 1987 capturing that night’s evening news and the titular special immediately following, complete with commercials for local businesses. Local TV personality Frank Stewart (Paul Fahrenkopf) is going to enter the Webber House, shut up since some axe murders twenty years before. Accompanying him will be husband and wife paranormal investigators the Bergers (Brian St. August and Helenmary Bell) and a Catholic priest (Robert Long II). They intend to hold a “Call-In Seance” in the basement.

With any sort of genre awareness you’re immediately going to leap to comparisons with Ghostwatch, but let me stop you right there. That was done with the full powers of the BBC behind it, and played perfectly straight. This is a movie done by a bunch of guys who decided to make a movie with very little money – which doesn’t mean that it’s a slapdash enterprise, at all.

I’m not sure what it took to find older video cameras so the footage would have the right look, but there is a ton of work evident in the movie just in the ads and graphics. The IMDb states the filmmakers got a lot of stock footage for cheap – maybe a local station cleaning out old tapes or something, because that B-roll of carpet warehouses, petting zoos and video arcades is real period stuff. As for the graphics, I’m almost willing to bet that an ancient Video Toaster was resurrected – I recognize at least one transition from that venerable platform.

They work really hard to capture the moment in 1987 – there are at least two of those damned 1-900 phone call spots, the Satanic Panic is in full swing with a local band of fundamentalist crazies based on the Westboro Baptist Church waging a war on Halloween (their organization is called H.A.R.V.E.S.T., which is never explained, and I’m curious).

And as I said, Ghostwatch was serious, whereas The WNUF Halloween Special is largely not – from the oh-god-shoot-me-now japes of the newscasters to the ads, which never quite play as satire, but it’s there. I particularly like the anti-drug ad sponsored by “Parents Against Partying” and the spots for dreadful syndicated action and sci-fi shows that were the mainstay of independent UHF stations before they all got bought by conglomerates.

Like Ghostwatch, there a flock of looky-loos in various costumes outside the Webber house that Stewart interviews, but as they are Americans, they are all idiots.

There’s another level of self-referential humor in there, too. The IMDb states that:

The commercial for “High Pike Farms”, which is located on “Mundra Drive” is a nod to HACK O’ LANTERN, which starred Hy Pike and was directed by Jag Mundra

The police officer who gives a lengthy lecture on how to not fall into the trap of eating candy bars containing needles “laced with the AIDS virus” (this segment is sped over by whoever’s watching the videotape, thankfully) is named Officer Bookwalter, which seems a nod to low-budget guru J.R. Bookwalter. There are more in the movie, but I’m not chasing all of them down. When I start wondering if “Frank Stewart” is a nod to Fred Mustard Stewart, who wrote The Mephisto Waltz, I also wondering if I am too genre-aware.

Naaaaaaah, probably not.

So I find myself curiously torn by The WNUF Halloween Special. On the one hand, it looks like a fairly lackluster found-footage film. But on the other hand (and it is a large, imposing hand) there is so much work obvious in its making, a deliberate intention to grab the cheesiness of the concept and totally commit to it, that I am truly impressed.

U: Unfriended (2015)

Well, it looks like this is also my season for Internet horror movies.

A group of high school friends get together for their regular Skype party (is this a thing? Or was? Haha, I’m old) and someone using the default avatar is along for the ride. Unable to hang up or otherwise get rid of the interloper, a little research reveals it is using the account of one of the group who had committed suicide a year before, on that very night – Laura Banks (Heather Sossaman).

Laura shot herself after a particularly humiliating video was posted, followed by a torrent of cyberbullying. Our main Skyper, Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is starting to receive text messages from Laura. And as the evening progresses, our participants find that not only can they not get rid of her, but she can post equally humiliating stuff to their Facebook accounts and Instagrams, even control their peripherals and their lights. Laura is seeking blame for her suicide, and moreover retribution. And she seems to know a lot about our doomed band of Skypers.

“A vengeful ghost story played out in real time, and only on a computer screen” seems like a thought exercise or a dare between filmmakers, but it has to be confessed that Unfriended manages it beautifully. This the sort of movie I would have expected to get made during the Pandemic (and probably would have done pretty well if released during the first lockdown), and I was surprised to find the date was 2015. Honestly, the fact that Chatroulette shows up as a plot device would have tipped me off eventually, but the movie is so full of familiar icons, bloops and beeps that it mostly assumes a timeless quality – at least until there’s some sort of major UI overhaul or other technical revolution.

Maybe it’s best if you watch it as I did, on a computer screen. I was occasionally disoriented, wondering why my mouse cursor was going nuts, but it wasn’t mine, it was Blaire’s. And I have to give props to anybody who can demonstrate thought processes by using mouse movements. The steps she takes and the tabbing back and forth between windows proceeds logically, and I think anyone could follow this with only rudimentary knowledge of the Web and social media. I think that is another plus to assign to director Levan Gabriadze and writer Nelson Greaves – widening the appeal of a concept that screams niche into something that non-Webheads could appreciate.

Also, I had never even thought about suicide by blender, so thanks for putting that in my head, movie.

T: Terrified (2017)

Former police forensic investigator Jano (Norberto Gonzalo) is roused from his sleep by a phone call from his old colleague Funes (Maximiliano Ghione); there is an incident in a Buenos Aires neighborhood, and Funes absolutely needs his help. What Jano finds upon his arrival is two rattled policemen (three, if you include Funes), a catatonic mother, and what appears to be her five year-old son risen from the grave.

And that’s only the most recent weird shit going on in this particular neighborhood. Jano notices a woman taking pictures of a house across the street, and recognizes her as Dr. Albreck (Elvira Onetto), a paranormal researcher of some note. The occupant of that house had sent her pictures of some vaguely human thing crawling out from under his bed. That occupant has gone missing, about the time his neighbor’s wife was murdered, the husband claiming by forces unknown.

Eventually, Jano, Albreck and her associate, Dr. Rosentok (George L. Lewis) will spend the night in each of these houses in an attempt to discover what is going on. Yep, one person per house, with Funes reluctantly tagging along. Albreck and Rosentok are particularly excited, because this may prove some particularly wild theories. As one might assume, oh boy, do they ever.

Terrified will jump back and forth in its earlier segments to lay out the timeline of this weirdness and the connection of these events. I always like storylines with serious paranormal investigation going on, and man does Dr. Albreck have some lovely supernature detection equipment, all brass and wood and beautiful. I’m jealous.

Is Terrified actually terrifying, though? There are the required jump scares, certainly, but mainly I would have to say it is mainly creepy as fuck, which is sort of the same thing, right? A constant state of dread and unease is certainly the basis, if not one of the definitions, of terror. This is another crawling chaos story, as things from outside make their ways into our world, and the most explanation you’re going to get is “These beings like blood.”

It’s not often Argentinian horror movies cross my path, and the experience is even better when it’s a good one. Thanks to Shudder for bringing it over!

S: Sea Fever (2019)

This seems to be my season to watch movies with common themes. So why not another movie with people trapped aboard a ship at sea with… something?

Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) (why yes, this is an Irish movie, could ye not kin?) is a stand-offish grad student whose program sends her off in a fishing trawler to catalog their catch and look for any anomalies. She is almost forcibly pulled off her work at a lab which is finding parasites in water they should not be in, which is why your foreshadowing sense was tingling.

The husband and wife (Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen) owner/operators of the Niamh Cinn Oir (told you – Irish) are in deep financial trouble, as witness the state of the boat. They need a massive catch, and they need it bad. Which is why Scott disobeys Coast Guard orders and steers into an Exclusionary Zone, supposedly closed off because of whales. Turns out that massive shoal they see on sonar isn’t lots of fish, it’s something preying on the whales – and it thinks the Niamh Cinn Oir is a whale, trapping it in place with glowing tendrils and pumping some sort of slime through the hull.

That slime is full of parasites that can enter the bloodstream through any open cut – and if you’ve seen any episodes of Deadliest Catch you’ll know that injuries abound on these trips, and the end result is messy. Worse news is the parasite is also in the water supply.

Sea Fever owes a lot to Alien, with its female protagonist being the only one sensible enough to see what’s at stake versus a lot of desperate working class types. They even have a callback to the trip to the alien ship where earlier victims of the parasite are found (a commercial fishing vessel floating in the Exclusionary Zone).

Sea Fever, though, is not the cover-your-eyes horror trip that Alien was; it is more a slow-burn exercise. That might have made it suffer due to a viewing immediately after [REC]4, but I was never tempted to fast forward or go elsewhere for my S entry – I wanted to see what happened next. It is well-cast and acted, and sometimes you just need that sort of variance in your entertainment diet.

The poor movie also came out about the same time as Underwater, aka the beginning of the Pandemic, so sadly it was born under a bad sign. Or, as one of the many fisherman superstitions in the movie inform us, it’s bad luck to have a redhead on board. Being something of a ginger fan, I don’t see the sense in that, so I’ll give Sea Fever the recommendation it deserves.

 

R: [REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)

Well, at least I get to continue one of my Hubrisween traditions with the [REC] franchise. As you may recall, the first [REC] was an excellent found footage horror movie, which involved news reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) doing a ride-along with a fire department crew to an apartment building which becomes a hotbed of zombie-ish activity playing out in real time. [REC]² took up almost immediately after the first movie ends, with a SWAT team going into the quarantined building to get a specific blood sample to combat the contagion (along with some idiots breaking in for various reasons but really to keep the cannon fodder quota up). [REC]³ breaks the format – quite literally – 20 minutes or so in, as a new outbreak makes itself known at a lavish wedding.

Writer-directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza collaborated on the first two, then split up for the last two: Plaza handled the wedding, and Balaguero this last chapter. Apocalypse takes place on a freighter which has been quickly transformed into a floating lab and quarantine space. Among the quarantined are our old friend Angela, Guzman (Paco Manzanedo), a Special Forces doctor who managed to rescue Angela from the building before his team blew it up; Lucas (Crispulo Cabezas), the only other survivor from that team, and Mrs. Boda (Maria Alfonsa Rosso), the only survivor from the wedding. They have all tested clean of the contagion, but what exactly the team of scientists (and what the ship’s captain refers to as “their private army”) are doing in the ship’s hold is anybody’s guess. Whatever it is, it’s putting a strain on the ship’s aging generator, causing occasional blackouts.

You don’t suppose that will be significant later on, do you?

The scientists are trying to create an antiviral to combat these outbreaks, which of course means they have to have subjects that are contaminated, right? When someone lets a test subject loose despite numerous security precautions… well, you watch movies. I’m sure you can figure out what happens next.

Yeah, you were right.

Now, [REC]³ had triggered my old zombie movie fatigue, because minus the novelty of the found footage approach, that is what it was: simply another zombie movie. Apocalypse, though, returns to the claustrophobic pressure cooker of the first two movies, and is all the better for it, even cribbing a bit of paranoia from John Carpenter’s The Thing. You get your usual betrayals, acts of cowardice and acts of heroism, all driven forward by bad circumstances: the venture is a succeed-or-die mission, the lifeboats are all disabled, the ship is rigged to explode in case of what happens does, and, oh yeah, we’re in the middle of a Force 8 gale.

Also seemingly jettisoned is the thread running through the first three movies, that the cause is a medical version of demonic possession – in [REC]² a zombie is trapped in a room with a crucifix, and in [REC]³ the zombies are held by a clergyman reading scripture. None of that is present here, and I really kind of miss it. It was different, and I liked it.

But it is a nicely done series ender, and Balaguero and Plaza have both stated that this is indeed the end of the series. I’m thankful they have enough sense to not go the full franchise route (I really don’t need a Twitter war about [REC] Kills five years from now), and that this final chapter was good enough to make me actually care about what happens in a zombie movie.

M: Malignant (2021)

What? I do watch recent movies, you know.

I was told I needed to go into Malignant cold, with as little knowledge as possible. That the plot started out batshit and only got more batshit from there. Now, I like James Wan as a horror director (and I absolutely loved his Aquaman), so I saw it before it could get spoiled for me. So I’m going to take the same tack in writing about it, trying to not give away too much, which is going to look absolutely quaint in a week or so when everybody knows everything about it.

First we have Madison (Annabelle Wallis), a troubled woman who is having a stretch of bad life; she’s pregnant again after three miscarriages, and her husband is an abusive asshole (Jake Abel doing a too-good job in the role). An argument culminates in him smashing her head into a drywall, apologizing copiously and running to get some ice. Madison, bleeding from the back of her head, locks the bedroom door behind him and collapses onto the bed.

That night, somebody comes into the house and murders the husband, leaving his body a twisted wreck. Madison discovers his body the next morning, and if you watch any true crime shows, you know she is instantly the prime suspect, although she doesn’t remember much from the previous night, just a dream about a mysterious black-clad figure doing the killing.

Of course, since we have a movie to fill, there will be more murders, and each time Madison finds herself paralyzed as she has a vision of the murder happening. The murders are connected to something in Madison’s past, and, as is traditional, Madison’s sister Sydney (Maddie Hanson) proves a better detective about this past connection than the cops assigned to her case (George Young and Michole Briana White).

There’s a nice little horror show prologue that gives you an important clue to the nature of this mysterious assassin (and more clues are even dropped in the opening credit), so although horror movie aficionados will be fairly certain that they know what’s going on, the actual mechanism and nature of the killer has to be unfolded throughout the story, and that’s where the fun lies – at least for me. And the movie certainly doesn’t lack for mayhem and action.

I will tell you the killer’s name is Gabriel (the trailer does that, anyway), and that I’ve seen it mentioned online that he should be the star of a new franchise, and I say naaaaaah to that. He’s an interesting character, truly bizarre to watch in motion, owing more to the Crooked Man in Wan’s Conjuring 2 than anything else; completely disturbing to the human eye. But not everything is franchise fodder, for the love of God. The Crooked Man is already getting his own movie, you should let Malignant be what it is: a decent giallo-adjacent horror movie that would be all the better for being a one-and-done.

Less than 500 words. And there is why I don’t usually do recent movies.

H: Helltown (2017)

Searching through the Discovery+ stream for something strange to start my evening, I saw that I had picked Helltown as a possibility back when we first subscribed (My wife is addicted to those house-flipping shows and hey, the complete Mythbusters and Good Eats was much too tempting). The description reads “A former military member sheds light on the 1974 evacuation of Boston, OH.” Now I had never heard of this evacuation of an entire town , so clickedy click and off I go.

We start in 2016 with phone footage from 4 teenagers who were livestreaming their trespassing into abandoned Boston. This is broken up with text in an appropriately Blair Witch-style typeface, telling us that the town had been evacuated for a State Park in the early 70s. It will also tell us the kids went into a restricted part of the park, and that one of them did not make it out alive.

This brings us to a historian professor who has Boston Ohio, or as it is more popularly known, “Helltown”, in his curriculum. He goes through the government acquisition of the town through eminent domain for a state park by President Gerald Ford, backed up by some local TV coverage. The swiftness of the resulting ouster of the townspeople gave rise to many conspiracy theories, the professor tells us. Which brings us to the person we are going to spend much of our time with, conspiracy theorist and YouTuber Terry Greenbaum (Darren White).

Yes, the theorist is played by an actor. Didn’t I mention that the professor is also an actor? Which you probably figured out because the man is way too good on camera to be just any academic. Yep, this is a mockumentary based on the actual Helltown story.

Helltown is a real place, and apparently you can visit it (but stay away from the restricted area, oooOOOooh). It’s story is more prosaic and sad than spooky, but as the professor says, it’s become a magnet for conspiracy theories and urban legends.

Greenbaum will tell us of the many strange tales about Helltown, but the most significant one is an incident just after the evacuation, when an altercation between the military and some recalcitrant Bostonians erupt in violence, leaving all but one dead – Everett MacMahon (Terry Brandon), who has kept silent about his experience – until now.

With the death of the teenage girl in that party (not by a bear attack, Greenbaum assures us, citing Jaws) and his own incipient dementia, MacMahon has decided that the truth must come out, and his narration will be supported by reenactment. A lot of reenactment, if you were still on the fence about this being real. MacMahon was part of a small Signal Corps team sent into the area after the evacuation to record and inventory what was left. But the real kicker for me is that as MacMahon continues his story and Greenbaum his investigation, the story starts veering into folk horror territory, and the reasons for Helltown’s evacuation and restriction are far more terrible and outlandish than originally thought.

That’s all I’m going to tell you. Starting what I thought to be a documentary and finding myself in folk horror, almost Lovecraftian territory, was a lovely surprise.

Not everyone had the same experience, though.

Going through the IMDb and a Google search finds this movie derided and hated, mostly because it’s fake; I see some local historians whose outrage is understandable, but a whole lot more of them seem angry that they got fooled for a while. Hey, I was also fooled for a while, though my willing participation in my own fooling was more hopeful than anything else, that such eldritch weirdness really could be possible in this world. So my reaction was more “Haha, good one, you got me!” than outright anger. The fact that this was originally presented on the show Destination America and is still hosted on the Trvl Channel doesn’t help dispel that anger.

The fact I love folk horror probably helped, in my case. No, it definitely helped. So, sorry Boston OH purists, but I really enjoyed it, and I know some others that might, as well. It was a nice little trick’r’treat surprise.

E: Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil (2017)

It’s not every movie that causes me to look up some history. Well, that’s not exactly true, I’m always trying to find info on the history of the movie itself, but this time I’m talking about History with a capital H. To be exact, the prologue tells us it takes place during “The First Carlist War”, an event about which I am woefully uninformed. Anyway, here is the Wikipedia entry on the subject if you have a similar hole in your education.

So we’re in the late 1830’s in the Basque region of Spain, and some Carlists are about to be shot for attempting to smuggle Tsarist gold for the cause. One of the Carlists manages to survive the firing squad and murder all the liberal (hey, history’s label, not mine) soldiers. A devil’s silhouette is briefly seen in the havoc.

Eight years pass, and a representative from the government arrives in a small rustic Basque village. He’s looking for that gold, and some of the greedy villagers are all too willing to help him. The primary suspect is a blacksmith, Patxi (Kandido Uranga) who returned from the wars eight years before and has turned his smithy into a fortress, festooned with iron spikes, crosses and bear traps. Patxi is, in short, the local boogyman, feared by children and spoken of only in whispers.

The other major character will be Usue (Uma Bracaglia), an orphan girl with a burn scar on one side of her face. Circumstances – by which I mean the casual cruelty of the other village children – cause her to venture into Patxi’s domain, where we will find out that the blacksmith has a literal devil held prisoner in an iron cage.

As you surmised, Patxi is the survivor of that firing squad at the beginning, and his survival is due to a deal made with that devil that he could go back home to his wife. The deal, of course, goes sour as such diabolical contracts do, and Patxi is determined to put off his part of the bargain as long as possible. He captured his devil (who shows himself to be something of a klutz, so small wonder) and has fortified the smithy against other devils coming to his prisoner’s rescue.

This revelation comes fairly early, and the rest of the movie picks up the threads and weaves them into a complete fable. There are many discussions with the captive devil, Sartael (Eneko Sagardoy), who proves to be a joy, if a venal, abrasive one.

Things come to a head when the village, thinking they are rescuing Usue, form the traditional torch-bearing mob to storm the smithy and discover Sartael. Even then, things do not quite work out as expected.

Errementari (which is Basque for blacksmith) is one of Netflix’s foreign imports, and I have to say I’ve been impressed with each one I’ve seen. Production values are rich, and the whole thing has the feel of a story handed down in the oral tradition – the pieces all fit together like an old, comfortable hand-carved wooden puzzle. The makeup on Sartael is excellent – it has to be, we see it so much – and when we do finally visit Hell, it is based on woodcuts and paintings of the infernal region and its denizens, quite something to see.

Modern Spanish horror has a definite feel about it; I think I would have placed its origin correctly without even knowing. The language, incidentally, is Basque (even for the Spanish officials), and that is particularly satisfying, considering it was forbidden under another dictatorship, Franco’s. I found the whole thing quite delightful and have no hesitation recommending it.

I Did Actually Watch Some Stuff…

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

As expected, a movie about a relentless killing machine punched right through my can’t-focus-on-anything anxieties. This is another franchise flick that decided to ignore every movie made since the second iteration (the other being 2018’s Halloween, which I should get to one of these days), an approach which pays off nicely. Being directed by Tim Miller, who helmed Deadpool, is also a very definite plus.

It turns out that the events of Terminator 2 did actually prevent the genocidal rise of Skynet, but now a different machine overlord from a different future is still sending back new terminators (in this case, Gabriel Luna) for a new target (Natalia Reyes). The good guys have sent back an enhanced human (Mackenzie Davis) to protect the target, but she’s still somewhat overmatched, so it’s up to Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, making one hell of an entrance) to lend a hand and lots of bullets.

The new Terminator has an interesting double form that builds on former versions in the franchise. And speaking of former versions, Arnold Schwarzenegger is on hand as a former T-800 abandoned by a future that no longer exists; he’s had to build a life as a human, and even learned to experience an emulation of love. He’s also got some of the best lines.

I was “eh” on the other sequels, but Dark Fate serves as a nice trilogy endpiece with the first two, even if every other line seems to be “He’s coming!” or “We can’t stay here.” I would really like this to be the last Terminator movie, but we know how rarely the Suits of Hollywood listen to my wishes.

Coma (2019)

It seems like a million years ago that I first saw a trailer for the Russian Coma and thought “Wow, that looks really interesting” and then spent the next thousand or so years wondering whatever became of it. Well, Dark Sky Films bought the rights and now I finally get to scratch that particular itch.

Visually the movie is amazing, and the first twenty minutes or so are trippy as hell, as a man (Rinal Mukhametov) wakes up in a strange world that seems to be building itself as he walks through it He is attacked by a large creature that seems to be made of billowing black liquid, and rescued by the usual ragtag bunch of post-apocalyptic soldier types.

What he (and we) will eventually find out is that he is in a coma, and this strange world is a level of reality where everyone in a coma finds themselves. The world is made up of loose memories made concrete (everyone arrives with convenient amnesia), and the black creatures, called “reapers” are manifested by brain-dead patients on life support. It also seems that certain of the people in this “Comaspace” can manifest some super power; our hero was apparently an architect in real life, and can create structures out of nothing simply by concentrating.

So what we have here is a sort of sideways Matrix crossed with Dawn of the Dead, as if you are wounded by a Reaper, you will eventually turn into one. As I mentioned, the visuals are stunning, and though I still have a few questions about the mechanics of Comaspace, I can still heartily recommend this.

Bacurau (2019)

It’s always nice when a universally-praised movie actually deserves that praise. Bacurau is one of those movies that needs to be experienced tabula rasa, so I won’t be going into much detail here.

The title is the name of a remote village in Brazil, the time is the very near future. Teresa (Barbera Colen) is an expatriate returning to the village with much-needed medicine. Her main reason, though, is the death of her aunt, who was the matriarch of the village. Bacurau has other problems, too – some megacorporation has shut off their water supply, and one day their village simply disappears from satellite maps. Then, there’s that flying saucer floating around…

Though Teresa is a continuing presence through the movie, this is a wonderful ensemble piece, as Bacurau tries to figure out what is happening, and each new revelation leads to something dark and violent. By the time Udo Kier shows up and you can say, ah, there’s the problem, several people are dead and there promises to be many, many more.

Good stuff.