Tigers Are Not Afraid [org. title Vuelven] is a Mexican Fantasy Horror movie that just screened at Fantasia 2018. Definitely worth your time!
Tigers Are Not Afraid is probably more of a social commentary than fantasy horror. Though both of the latter elements are still a big part of the story.
It may not be a movie for everyone, but the story is both important and engaging. Fans of the Netflix show Narcos will probably recognize the setting immediately.
And yes, I know, Tigers Are Not Afraid is set in a different country, but the drug-related crime is certainly recognized.
Through the eyes of a child
The story in Tigers Are Not Afraid is focused on a group of kids. We get to experience the world through the eyes of kids. And these aren’t your average neighborhood kids. No, these kids are both homeless and without parents or other adults around.
They build their own families and are (of course) forced to lives of crime in order to get food. It’s not a world that many of us will recognize, but the fact that this world does exist is the real horror to me.
However, if this isn’t your cup of tea, then don’t worry. There is plenty of “horror movie”-style horror as well.
Ghosts and premonitions
You’ll probably guess a few of the plot twists ahead of time. But in all honesty, I didn’t feel like the plot was meant as a surprise to the audience. We just follow the story the kids are experiencing.
As such, many adults are able to decipher what the kids remember and experience, faster than the kids.
Also, there are actual ghosts and supernatural elements happening. Mostly as part of terrible nightmares (actually dreamt nightmare) and in real life. However creepy these elements are, the real-life horror is worse to me.
A story from Issa López
Issa López is the writer and director of Tigers Are Not Afraid, which also has the original title of Vuelven. While this movie is definitely a genre film set in both the horror and fantasy genres, it’s a slow-burn and more dark and realistic than you might expect.
I really enjoyed Tigers Are Not Afraid, but mostly for the social realism and honesty about the horrors some kids actually live with. It’s intense, creepy and very gloomy. And yet, the friendship and loyalty between the kids do offer some hope.
Also, the young actors in this movie are absolutely brilliant! Truly gifted and very honest in their portrayals. This story would not have worked if the kids weren’t able to deliver on the story and their characters.
Tigers Are Not Afraid is playing at film festivals all over the world and just screened at Fantasia 2018 in Canada.
Director: Issa López
Cast: Paola Lara, Hanssel Casillas, Rodrigo Cortes
A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war.