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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Review: Huesera: The Bone Woman

Director: Michelle Garza Cervera

Screenplay: Michelle Heron Brewing and Abia Castle

Year: 2023

The horror genre is known for taking sensitive subjects and breaking them down to their liking. Parenthood and the difficulties that surround it are a recurring theme, where classics such as "Rosemary's Baby" and "Eraserhead" or more recent ones such as "The Babadook" can be cited. A new exclusive release from Shudder joins the selection of films that follow this idea in its plot.

In "Huesera: The Bone Woman", we follow Valeria, who had always wanted to be a mother, but when she became pregnant, she began to feel that something was wrong. At the same time, she begins to have visions and to feel that a skeletal figure is stalking her to hurt her and attempt against her pregnancy.

Based in Mexico, in this film we see the story from Valeria's perspective and witness her difficulties, fears, and regrets. We quickly get into the skin of the protagonist thanks to the excellent performance of Natalia Solián as Valeria, supported by the visual effects and the ability of director Michelle Garza Cervera to create a disturbing atmosphere. The sound effects create a cohesive link between the acting and the visuals to create that sense of suspense that plays to its advantage.

The film also does a great job of exploring the psychological effects of motherhood through the protagonist, as we see her wrestle with the conflict of becoming a mother and the changes it begins to bring to her life. Apart from this, the script by Michelle Garza Cervera and Abia Castillo explore themes of feminism and the social expectations that tend to fall on women.

Where “Huesera: The Bone Woman” fails is in its lack of horror. Some will argue that the film has several disturbing images, but the reality is that they are few and far between and don't feel like they are the film's focus. It's handled more like a psychological thriller with some horror elements that are mostly disturbing but nothing more than that. It should also be noted that the pace is quite leisurely in most of its 97-minute duration, which may represent a challenge for some.

“Huesera: The Bone Woman” is presented as a horror film, but it does not live up to that term and is rather handled as a psychological thriller with some horror elements and few scares. If you can handle the slow pace and get into the plot, Valeria's situation is intriguing and forces you to think about the effects of motherhood and social constructs on a woman's psychology. Fans of the strongest and purest horror will not find much appeal in it.

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