[Review] ‘Luciferina’ Mixes Sex and Demons Together in a Strange But Familiar Way

Jason McDonald

Sex, religion, and demonic horror are pretty common bedfellows.  There have been numerous films in which someone either is pregnant or needs to be impregnated in order to bring about some demon that will end the world.  Much like a cabin in the woods, if you’re a virgin in a religious horror movie something bad is bound to happen in or around you.  “Luciferina” is one such movie, but does this Argentinian horror film manage to put a new twist on the subject?

In the movie a young nun named Natalia (Sofia Del Tuffo) is informed that her mother has died under strange circumstances and her father is in a state of catatonic shock, unable to provide any answers.  Natalia’s younger sister has learned from her college friends of a shaman on a remote island who can help them see the unknown. Thinking he may hold the secret to their mother’s death, the group pay him a visit.  Unfortunately, someone in the group has something hidden away that no one is ready to have revealed.

The story in “Luciferina” won’t be too surprising if you’ve seen these kind of movies before.  What does make it unique, though, is the inclusion of the shaman.  It adds a fresh flavor to the mix that you don’t normally see in movies about religion.  Unfortunately they don’t do a whole lot with the idea, but it’s still a cool inclusion.  If you’re used to traditional American movies about demonic possession it’s a refreshing experience to see what sort of little twists other cultures have on it.  Honestly it’s mostly the same experience, but there are some slight differences.  Things like herbal remedies and shamanistic practices are mixed into the familiar tropes and they give the situation a unique spin.

What I found most interesting about the movie is its use of imagery.  I took a class in college about reproductive organs and yet this movie somehow has shown me more uteri than I’ve ever seen before. There’s a cross in the shape of a uterus, paintings of uteri, and people who contort their body into the shape of a uterus.  It’s just so bizarrely dense with uteri.  It all makes sense since the movie is about demonic impregnation, but it’s just so much.  I never want to see or say the word uterus again.

As for characters the movie has plenty of them, but we never really get enough sense of who they are to care about them before things go completely nuts.  Even Natalia’s sister, who has some great importance at the beginning of the story, feels severely underutilized by the end.  Natalia herself is well acted and Sofia injects a lot of warmth and heart into her, but she ultimately falls flat as a character.

Without spoiling it, the movie also has a truly bizarre ending that’ll make you feel like you’ve accidentally been suckered into a soft core porno.  It’s a really strange ending that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  In the context of the story it seems rather unnecessary and its execution is extremely silly.  It’s easily probably one of the weirdest endings to a movie I’ve seen this year.

Overall, if you’re a fan of religious horror movies I would still recommend this one just for its cultural perspective.  It’s not the best type of this subgenre, but it’s an interesting inclusion and I’m curious to see what comes next as this is apparently the first part of a planned trilogy.

3 / 5 stars     


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