Motherhood is one of those topics that is very much exclusive to a section of the world’s population, just in the same way fatherhood is for the other section. They are two different things that are often placed on the same level and also on the magnitude of importance. However, if there is one thing these two concepts have in common is that they are social constructs that are placed upon people. It doesn’t matter if they want them or not. Following social norms is hard enough, but what if you are not made for it? Huesera: The Bone Woman talks to us about it in a horrific fashion.
Huesera: The Bone Woman is a film directed by Michelle Garza Cervera and stars Natalia Solián, Alfonso Dosal, Mayra Batalla, and Mercedes Hernández. The film tells the story of Valeria, a young woman who is trying to get pregnant alongside her partner, Raúl. However, when their mission to get pregnant is finally accomplished, Valeria summons something else along with the baby. Something that will hunt her and terrify her at such a level that she might be a danger to others and even to herself.
Huesera: The Bone Woman is a fantastic film. Cervera does an amazing job as a director, and she and her team manage to capture that sense of horror that can only be created in our minds. The horror that only comes from our nature as human beings living on this planet. There is the horror of the unknown, of unfathomable things, but there is also horror that comes from absolutely real and inescapable things. Huesera uses motherhood as a tool to deal with these issues, and the result is immensely satisfying.
Some people would say this movie is about motherhood, but I would say it is about something else. Motherhood is just an element of the big picture, which is about identity. Motherhood is one of these specific roles that society wants to place on people. Once someone gives birth to a child, it seems that they are immediately a mother. However, every person is different, so why would everyone fit into such a social construct? Well, they don’t, of course, and the movie deals with this subject the most.
Natalia Solián shines in the role of Valeria, a woman trying to find her own identity. Solián’s performance is magnetic, and she does a fantastic job at going through the entire spectrum of emotions in a way that feels effortless. The descent of her character is really well done. So props not only to her but also to the story, which little by little teaches us more about the character. It makes us root for her, even when social norms would tell us she is a bad person for doing what she is doing.
The rest of the cast also does an outstanding job, but Batalla, in the role of Octavia, and Mercedes Fernandez as Isabel are surely the highlights of the supporting cast. Batalla plays her character with gusto and charisma, and you quickly understand why some characters feel the way they do toward her. Meanwhile, Mercedes Fernandez’s presence is smaller, but every time she appears on the screen, everything feels just warmer and better. It would have been great to learn more about these characters, but they serve their purpose very well.
When it comes to visuals, the movie is very well shot. Nur Rubio Sherwell takes charge of the cinematography, resulting in a mixture of both rawness and very caring compositions. The movie tries to find horror in the mundane. Just like Lynch does it, you don’t need some bloody monster to give you some unnerving feeling. Some shots really do amazingly well on the horror front, especially one involving a window. The visuals go for a more subtle effect than something that is in your face, but they are equally effective.
However, Cevera and her team don’t shy away from some truly gruesome imagery. There are a couple of moments towards the beginning of the film and then at the end where things go really crazy. For those who are into video games, this movie almost feels like a Bloodborne appendix, a side story of one of the characters in that game. Some imagery at the end even gives us the feeling that we are about to face The One Reborn. The entire concept really screams that these two works could be connected, but maybe it is just a wonderful coincidence.
In the end, Huesera: The Bone Woman is a fantastic example of a horror movie that doesn’t have anything to envy the works of Ari Aster and other horror movies released under the A24 banner. Those are horror movies that try to be subdued and go for more of an unnerving feeling than just total shock. Cervera, her team, and the cast position themselves as talents worth following. Latin America seems like a perfect scenario for horror, and we are glad that movies like this dare explore the genre using our voices.