‘The Old Ways’: an original twist worthy of exorcism cinema on Netflix


The horrors of cinema are almost always based on Catholic traditions, and the war against demons with Roman rituals. But there is another culture that enriches this subgenre, and ‘The Old Ways’, a modest new horror film that has entered Netflix’s top 10 this week, aims to take a different turn based on Mexican traditions, seeking its true roots. Something that is not the most common.

Director Christopher Alender and screenwriter Marcos Gabriel, ‘The Old Ways’, manage to offer a fresh theme by exploring the loss of roots through the story of investigative reporter Cristina (Brigitte Kali Canales), who returns to her original place. origins in Veracruz to investigate tales of magic and healing that match his mother’s exorcism, which he witnessed as a child, but a journey into a cave, known as a hotspot for an evil presence, leaves unconscious.

Aztec pop shamanism
When she wakes up, Christina finds herself in an unknown place, kidnapped by Luz (Julia Vera) and her son Javi (Sal López). Unable to communicate with her captors, losing her mother tongue, Cristina must undergo a series of rituals ranging from burning sage to consuming goat’s milk which is further clouded as she begins to doubt her sanity.

‘The Old Ways’, which was presented at Sitges 2020, starts off in a monotone way, but as the maelstrom of malice increases, the images of fear and impact intensify so that it doesn’t become a shattered vision of a film of this type. Even though it all takes place in the same room, disturbing dreams, flashbacks from the past, and revelations of secrets keep the narrative alive.

Apart from that, he has competent invoices and some ingenious ideas, such as the way Cristina’s character is treated and how doubt is sown about her original state and the game to leave the door open for claims about her. true or false. There are also elements of the Stranger in a Stranger film that questions the origins of the Mexican protagonist, exposing the traditional beliefs around him as something completely extraterrestrial.

Evil detox “clinic”
‘The Old Ways’ shows considerable creativity in uncovering this method, although many of the ideas exploring the space of ownership seem to be drawn directly from the more abstract exorcism scenes in the extraordinary official series ‘The Exorcist’. small details, actually like a lot of current proposals like ‘Evil’ or ‘The seven day’ recently.

But the ecstasy of some rites, in this respect, rivals that we can see in some of the Shaw brothers’ shaman war movies, which have recently recovered in Korean theaters, with an interesting confrontation of Taoism and Catholicism that here has little influence. indigenous response, without reaching the extreme madness of oriental cinema, but producing a decent enough horror film considering what appeared on the platform.

‘The Old Ways’ restored interest in highly exploited exorcism cinema, using ancestral treasures within cells, as a demon detox, but did not advance or provide any radical changes to the subgenre. It’s the product of an average festival that gets better when it gets carried away by Latin pop shamanism and manages to get out of the mud in the first half, with a few rather unnecessary repetitions of structure that prevent it from being more than an hour and a half worth and entertaining that it’s going to be a chapter. a good one from some recent horror anthologies.