Monday, October 5, 2020

Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) - Shudder Spree

 

Streaming Services: Shudder, DirecTV, Pantaya
Movie Name/Year: Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Length:  83 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Filmadora Nacional, Peligrosa, Videocine, Raven Banner Entertainment, Shudder, AMG Entertainment, Karmafilms Distribution, Periscoop Film
Director: Issa López
Writer: Issa López
Actors: Paola Lara, Juan Ramón López, Nery Arredondo, Hanssel Casillas, Rodrigo Cortes, Ianis Guerrero, Tenoch Huerta
 
Blurb from IMDb: 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.
  

Cat’s Point of View:
 
As we continue along our Shudder Spree for October, I couldn’t help but cross my fingers at the start of this movie – in hopes that it would both live up to my expectations and be significantly better than the first film we watched. I am quite happy to report that this experience was a full 180 degrees from the tedious other movie. Tigers Are Not Afraid deserves all the plethora of accolades it has received – and then some.

Rather than its numerous award wins and nominations, I’m more impressed by the high praise given this film by horror masters Stephen King (It, Pet Sematary, Doctor Sleep) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape of Water, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark).

Enough about what other people have said about Tigers Are Not Afraid. Let’s dive in to my own experience.

Sometimes foreign language films can be a bit onerous to watch, because of the split attention between the action and the words flashing across the screen. I was very thankful that this was a Spanish-speaking movie. I have a loose grasp on the language, and so I didn’t have to rely entirely on the subtitles (and the translation missed a few expletives here and there). That freed me to more thoroughly experience the film. Let me tell you – this was a rollercoaster.

I was invested from the beginning. I loved the street-tag art, and how it helped frame the story. I felt real dread for the plight of the children in the lead roles. Life under the thumb of cartels is no joke. I bought in on every gritty experience of these drug war orphans.

I adored the practicality and whimsy of the chalk and its representation of the three wishes. The fantastical elements of the story were deftly portrayed so that it was easy to suspend my disbelief. I also appreciated the vague and nebulous appearance of some of the supernatural manifestations. This wasn’t a splatter-fest and didn’t rely on horrific visuals to elicit fear, dread, or other emotional responses.

The young cast was seriously impressive, considering they didn’t have prior acting experience and weren’t even given copies of the script. The production team gave them improv classes and shot in chronological order so that they could capture the genuine reactions of the actors. These kids have bright futures ahead in the industry if they continue to pursue their acting careers.

I do not think I was adequately prepared for the emotional rollercoaster here. I actually cried at one point, and the dread as I worried about the plight of these kids was nearly gut-wrenching. For that reason alone, this will be a ‘one-and-done’ viewing for me. I don’t think I could put myself through that again, in spite of the fact this was an excellent film.

 Tigers Are Not Afraid is a safe bet to add to your spooky season watch list. 

 Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 85%
Metascore – 76/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.4/10
IMDB Score – 7.0/10
 
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
 
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
 
Movie Trailer:

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