Natalia is a nineteen-year-old nun who reluctantly returns home to say goodbye to her dying father. However, when she meets up with her sister and her friends, she decides instead to travel the jungle in search of a mystical plant. There, instead of pleasure, they encounter a world of Black Masses, strange pregnancies, bloody deaths and for young nun Natalia, a sexually violent clash with the Devil himself.
From writer/director Gonzalo Calzada and starring Victoria Carreras, GastÃ³n Cocchiarale, and Agustin Daulte, Lucferina is a Satanic-themed Argentinian exploitation horror. While the name sounds like an awkward blend of Lucifer and ballerina, the film is anything but a joke. If you, like me, are used to the offerings from Artsploitation films, then you know you are in for an R-rated ride through what can only be described as a deranged and debaucherous film. Artsploitation doesn't deal in horrors that hold your hand or scare you with petty jump-scares — they purposely pick films that attack the psyche, murder morality, push boundaries, cull the squeamish, and leave your innocence forever deflowered. It's never soft-core and often shock-horror. Luciferina lives up to their usual offerings, presenting us with something of a different take on the daughter-of-the-devil story, blended with cults and covens and unlovable protagonists. It's a pagan hack-and-slash not for the faint of heart.
The plot follows sisters Angelina and Natalia, who are recently reunited after an accident that resulted in the death of their mother and near-death of their father, whose injuries have left him almost in compos mentis. We learn that the family is broken in undescribed but terrible ways and that both sisters have taken different, radical measures to distance themselves from the afflictions that permeated their adolescent lives; Angelina becoming a rebel and Natalia becoming a nun. Their reunion comes at a time when Angelina, her asshat boyfriend, and their college buddies are about to embark on a planned journey to visit a shaman that promises to help heal their psychological issues (the uni friends are psych-majors apparently — just go with it). Naturally, everything takes a turn for the worse and the trip becomes a trap, revealing the truth behind the siblings' tumultuous past.
The film becomes incredibly dark in the second half with most of the visuals dealing with Satanism, Catholicism, possession, exorcism, and ritual sacrifice. It's all very vivid, visceral, and vicious, with little left to the imagination in true exploitation film style. The plot was surprisingly decent without being too complex, but far from original. The score is disappointingly little more than background noises and is mostly unnoticeable. The set is dark and dingy, adding to the atmosphere and the overall feel of the film, but very little could be regarded as memorable or eye-catching. The acting was solid from start to end, with each actor convincing in their stereotype but with no one really stealing the show or standing out.
The film, unfortunately, falls prey to its unjustifiably lengthy runtime. With the closing scenes wrapping up in under two hours, we get an incredibly drawn out last act that, while concludes well, was just annoyingly slow paced. A shorter cut and a bit of aggressive editing would have made the film a better watch overall. That said, Luciferina is a solid film with a lot to offer — I just wish that the offering would have finished a little quicker.
Catch the trailer and poster below. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.