Sunday, October 29, 2023

Hunting a Nagual.

In a small town in the state of Morelos, a local brujo (warlock) “Tobias” is blamed for the death & failed birth of a man’s wife & child. The man is told by the local doctor “Jose Luis” (Rafael Sanchez Navarro) that this was all simply a tragic medical incident, but the man insists it was Tobias who caused this to happen and this leads to killing him. Tobias being a warlock & all—doesn’t die. Oh, not at all. Tobias resurrects as a Nagual that is going to kill anyone in town that crosses his path. With the Nagual now leaving a long trail of blood—the local priest, a cop & the local doctor set out to stop the Nagual all while everyone else in town insist it’s just one of their own citizens doing this. 

Cazador De Demonios ("Demon Hunter") is a fairly unique Mexican horror film with a slumbering small-town setting & using a Nahuatl superstition to a different level. The Nahuatl superstition I speak of is having a “Nagual” as the adversary. And what is a “Nagual” exactly? A Nagual is a shapeshifter that takes form into a spiritual creature and in the case of Cazador De Demonios, it is a wolf creature—or a werewolf. 

Cazador De Demonios delivers some interesting kills (off-screen & on) and feature plenty of blood in them as well. All the bloody kills are provided by the Nagual of course, which we don’t really get much of a glimpse of up until the very end of the film. However, not seeing much of the Nagual isn’t a bad thing because it enhances the suspense of it all. Sometimes the things you don’t get to see are truly the most terrifying. 

The pacing of Cazador De Demonios can be slow at times, but keep in mind that this is a film that is exploring small town life & its citizens doubting anything going wrong in their every day life, that is of course until they finally realize something indeed is going on, but they go with all the local chismes (gossip) rather than actual factors. While the town citizens try to find someone to easily to blame—the local priest, a local cop & the sole medical practitioner in town are in the know of what’s really going on and they try their hardest to end this creature’s blood lust. It even goes as far as the priest turning some silver from the church into a bullets which he believes will rid of the Nagual. It is incredible. The built up of our protagonists trying to rid of the adversary is quite intriguing and so worth watching. 

Legendary Mexican actor Tito Junco plays the priest of the film and it was his last role in a full-length feature film as he unfortunately passed away right after the film was done shooting in 1983 (the film was released until 1987). Tito did very well here and it’s truly a memorable role of hisin the final part of his career. 

When was the last time you watched a film about a Nagual? Probably never, thus why you must check out Cazador De Demonios. It is a moody & atmospheric gem from the 1980’s. Truly one of its kind as well.