MONTERREY, NL (appro).– Some girls go to a manor house to seek a cure for a strange disease of their sister, and it is their grandmother who will give them the medicine, although that old lady could, in reality, be an evil entity.
With this premise, which appeals to the basic fears of childhood, director Isaac Ezban presents “Mal de Ojo”, a horror film made in Mexico, released in theaters this weekend, and which shows Ofelia Medina in a singular role that will be unknown to all.
In an interview, the filmmaker says that he found the script made in the Dominican Republic fascinating, with a tone of Afro-Caribbean esotericism, with voodoo, so he decided to remake it to incorporate elements of Mexican reality and the dangers that lie in wait for children, mainly in their first circle of coexistence.
“We are talking about the Evil Eye, one of those mysterious health problems that are cured with remedies. It’s very Mexican. These girls in the story soon discover that the grandmother is not who she seems and that she might be a witch. That’s what it’s all about, to see if someone from your same family could hurt you. I like that the story can be presented as conventional horror, with some girls who arrive at a house with a grandmother who is not who she says she is”.
“The issue of caring for your children is very present, because it is about parents who must decide how to protect the family. The theme of envy is shown in a raw way and how the people who supposedly love you are the ones who could harm you, ”she notes.
By adapting the story to Mexican reality, Ezban was able to reconcile his personal themes with the requirements of the genre, blending suspense with the mysteries of aging.
“I have always addressed the issue of the passage of time in my work, such as in ‘El Incident’ (2014), ‘Los Parecidos’ (2015) and ‘Paralel’ (2018), where decrepitude is shown. These are themes that are well present here. It’s very exciting to mix mainstream horror with my themes as an author,” he notes.
The script is by Edgar San Juan, Junior Rosario and the director himself.
The horror that is presented in “Mal de Ojo”, aimed at adolescents and adults, is completely Mexican, says the director, because although some aesthetic references are taken from classic cinema, images of supernatural events are shown, thinking of witchcraft that results family like the one that can be known from Catemaco.
“We are presenting a mythology of witches, as we have never seen it, very Mexican. And although it was written in the Caribbean, we landed it in the country. I like the horror movies that we see everywhere and use it here. You can see some Asian horror, although it is more in the vein of the classic, like Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro. But, of course, the Asian has influenced, today, in all kinds of terror. The creatures we have and the prosthetics have something from there”, he acknowledges.
Ofelia Medina in an unusual role, takes over the film as the mysterious Josefa and, despite her great career, she was collaborative during filming, says Ezban.
“Ofelia is a great actress and it was incredible to work with her, she gave us tremendous pleasure. We’ve never seen her on paper like that. It was very exciting to work with her, with a lot of boards and trajectory of her, and we are going to discover her in a new role. She permeated her presence on set so much and helped make us feel so much smarter,” she says.
The director’s praise was also for the rest of the children’s and youth cast, which combined very well with more experienced actors.
“The cast in general stands out. Paola Miguel is a 14-year-old girl who has a lot of intelligence, instinct, talent and brings something very good and makes a great dumbbell of fresh and consolidated blood with Ofelia. We are going to see Paola as someone very important in the future of Mexican cinema.”
“Ivana Sofía Ferro does a great job, too, as the 7-year-old little girl. Samantha Castillo shines, just like Arap Bethke, Paola Alvamar, Mauro González, all the actors had great roles that are going to pleasantly surprise, ”she says.
Finally, Ezban invited the public to see the film on the big screen, since the horror genre is best enjoyed in movie atmospheres.
“I promise you it’s a movie that’s going to scare you,” he concluded.