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CFF Review: Christopher Alender’s ‘The Old Ways’

CFF Review: Christopher Alender’s ‘The Old Ways’

Christopher Alender’s “The Old Ways” is hands down one of the most well-made, refreshing, and genuinely disturbing possession films of recent years, in almost every imaginable way. The filmmakers manage to set the hooks in the viewer very early on with an interesting premise that’s highly engaging from the minute it begins due to masterful cinematography, a slew of great performances, and excellently crafted effects that really bring the gore.

Centered around Christina Lopez, a Mexican-American journalist who returns to her birthplace of Veracruz to do research for a piece she’s putting together on sorcery, the story thrusts you straight into her captivity by the hands of local witches called “bruja” as they attempt to free her from the clutches of the demon they claim possessed her in the nearby caverns. Christina of course thinks they’re insane, as will the viewer initially, but over the course of this ninety minute runtime both parties will simultaneously begin to question if there actually is something evil that’s taken shelter inside the young, drug-addicted journalist.

Not a moment is wasted in this tense, hard-hitting horror feature that’s brought to life by some incredibly original demon designs, convincingly haunting performances, and an overall refreshing narrative; one that doesn’t contain so much as a single frame of priests nor the slightest mention of the Catholic Church. There’s visually striking effects, especially in the final act, complete with super effective sequences of blood and gore that will have the more squeamish viewers looking away. If you’re interested in movies about demonic possession, exorcisms, and ancient folklore you absolutely don’t want to miss this. Bring on the Red Book Cinematic Universe!

‘The Old Ways’ is now available now on Netflix.