The Old Ways

Thoroughly enjoyable possession movie. Cristina is a journalist and junkie who ventures back to her birthplace in Mexico for an ethnographic article. Having largely lost touch with her roots after her adoption and move to the US at a young age, she no longer speaks Spanish and has no belief in the religious and traditional myths and practices. So she takes no heed of warnings not to go into a cursed cave.

Cue possession and attempts at exorcism. I like that Cristina acts like she’s seen a horror movie before and reacts with some degree of practicality. She states clearly that a lot of the ‘signs’ of her possession could easily be manufactured by her so-called benevolent healers and that her food could be being drugged to make her see things. What she alone knows is that she still has heroin in her system, and as it starts to wear off, that could be causing vomiting and muscle spasms. So there is a credible ambiguity at play.

While the addiction as possession trope is a fairly worn one, and the film relies mostly on jump-scares, nonetheless The Old Ways is well put together, decently acted, and has interesting costume and set design. A totally solid movie for a Friday night.