A gang of kids try to escape the cartel violence in Mexico in Tigers Are Not Afraid. Estrella (Paola Lara) is an 11 year old girl in a Mexican city torn apart by local cartels and corrupt political candidate El Chino (Tenoch Huerta). Estrella makes a wish that her missing mother comes back and ends up being followed around by her mother’s ghost. Scared, Estrella joins a gang of orphaned kids lead by El Shine (Juan Ramón López), who struggle to survive this violent world.
Tigers Are Not Afraid is a dark fantasy from Mexican filmmaker Issa López, with a plot that is highly reminiscent of the early films of Guillermo del Toro, particularly The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. The story of the film takes place under the backdrop of the Mexican cartel wars, which has resulted in countless deaths that have turned whole sections of cities into ghost towns and left many children orphans.
With Tigers Are Not Afraid, Issa López has created an emotional drama with just a touch of supernatural horror. The story of the film is actually a bit of a tearjerker, with there being many sad moments throughout the plot. The comparisons to the films of Guillermo del Toro are spot on and like del Toro’s films, Tigers Are Not Afraid uses the supernatural and fantastic to comment on the real life horrors in this world.