Day 01: ‘Catch Up’
Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)
It is that time of year again, 31 horror films in 31 days and all films I haven’t seen before. This year’s 31 Days Of Horror list for me includes films that I didn’t manage to watch in the previous couple of years. Day 1’s film is one that I have wanted to watch but in the year I had it on my list I got burned out and didn’t get there, thankful to say that I’m glad it was placed first.
Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) is an incredible film from Mexico, a strange and dark fairy tale with a dire backdrop of a group of children surviving on the streets, with a gang who had abducted their parents and are after the group. Estrella (Paola Lara) has lost her mother to the gang and during a day at school where there was a shootout, a fellow student gives her chalk saying she has three wishes. Estrella uses a wish to have her mother back, but she sees her mother as a ghostly figure and scared she finds a group of street boys to live with.
The film is absolutely devastating, the horror that the children face is honestly heartbreaking. That is where the true horror lies within the film, that they are left to fend for themselves because their parents have been taken, trafficked or murdered. The children have to face some terrible truths and try to survive in this world that has long forgotten them. The performances are incredible, each child brings something to their role and it’s heartbreaking. Visually there are some very dark moments, the scenes with more fairy tale elements are executed extremely well and blend in perfectly. Tigers Are Not Afraid is an excellent film, another stand out from modern Mexican cinema.
Day 02: ‘From the 1920s’
Silent cinema is extraordinary to see, it’s a vision into the earliest days of cinema and the incredible accomplishments of pioneers of the craft. Sadly so many of these films have been lost to time, those that remain are certainly treasured and a pleasure to be able to see. F.W. Murnau was one of those pioneers, perhaps best known for directing Nosferatu (1922) a true horror classic. Murnau’s masterpiece of silent cinema may be today’s film Faust (1926), an incredible piece of cinema that is both visually stunning and heartbreaking.
The story of Faust is a classic from German legend, Faust’s story sees him make a pact with the Devil Mephisto with dire consequences. The pact is also part of a wager between Mephisto and God, where Mephisto claims he can corrupt a man’s soul and chooses Faust. The film uses the legend and play as its basis and tells the story in a grand manner, with a larger than life feel on a grand scale. Murnau was given a large budget for this production, everything looks extraordinary from the sets, the costumes and the wonderful visual style. The corruption of Faust is heartbreaking as Faust, an aging alchemist makes the pact with Mephisto during a plague in order to try to help his village but they soon turn on him. He then gets youth, which also has consequences for Faust as his love Gretchen suffers greatly due to interference from Mephisto.
Is Faust a man who can be corrupted? Is there a winner in this wager between Mephisto and God? These are questions the film places before the audience, with a love story mixed in for good measure. Is love the one element that makes Faust unable to be corrupted? Well dear reader, that is why you must watch the film! On every level Faust is excellent, with a performance from Emil Jannings that is both frightening and endearing as Mephisto. This is a film that will certainly stick with everyone that watches it, it is haunting as much as it is beautiful.
Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea