Evil Eye (Mal de Ojo) – TADFF 2022

Evil Eye

Evil Eye (Mal de Ojo) – TADFF 2022

Nala, a 13-year-old girl from the city, travels with her family to her grandmother’s home in the countryside, to try to find a cure for her little sister’s mysterious illness – But she’ll soon find her granny is not exactly what she seems.

A teenage girl and her sick little sister stay at the house of their possible witch of a grandmother in . Nala () is a 13-year-old girl who lives in scorn at the attention given by her parents Rebecca () and Guillermo (), towards Nala's terminally ill younger sister Luna (). When Luna's condition worsens, Rebecca drops the sisters off at the house of Grandma Josefa (), who will watch over Nala and Luna while Rebecca seeks an unconventional cure. However, after Abigail (), the girlfriend of groundskeeper Pedro (), tells the sisters a local legend about witches, Nala begins to suspect that Josefa is not only a witch but also the one making Luna sick.

Evil Eye () is a Mexican folk-horror film co-written and directed by Isaac Ezban. The film incorporates much Mexican and Caribean folklore about witches, particularly through the “Legend of the Triplets,” a story told to the young protagonist Nala, which also serves as exposition about how witches can shed their skin and suck blood from children to maintain their youth. This results in Nala becoming paranoid about her grandmother Josefa, who seems to have sinister intentions toward Luna.

While I did not find Evil Eye to be outright scary, the film is still quite effective at generating a sinister atmosphere, with some solid creature makeup for the skinless witches. In many ways, Evil Eye can be viewed as a coming-of-age story, as Nala is on the verge of womanhood, which plays into the film's ultimate conclusion. However, Evil Eye does feature some revelations that are not fully explained and, combined with some confusing editing choices, results in the climax of the film feeling rushed. However, Evil Eye is still a folk-horror film worth checking out.

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Trailer for Evil Eye (Mal de Ojo) – TADFF 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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