A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Returning to your roots can help reconnect you to family and cultural heritage. As a metaphor, demons hold you back and turn you into something you're not. They prey on fear, pain, and sadness.
Positive Role Models
Luz, Miranda, and Javi are all good people trying to do the right thing. They believe that Cristina is in grave danger and needs help. Cristina eventually starts believing and manages to learn a lot about demons, brujas, and exorcisms. Luz and Javi make great sacrifices to help Cristina, and in the end, Cristina pays it back completely.
Almost entirely set in Veracruz, Mexico (although mainly shot in Los Angeles and Puerto Rico), and with a cast that are all Latin American, this horror movie features strong women in three of the four main roles. Cristina, Miranda, and Luz are all heroes, overcome difficult challenges, and have strong character arcs.
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Violence & Scariness
Lots of horrific and demonic images, blood, and some body horror. Some animals get pulverized into bloody messes (a rat, a chicken). Exorcisms are conducted and some feature grotesque phenomena, like pulling a bloody sack or bloody snake out of a woman's stomach, punching through demons' flesh to grab and yank out demon hearts, or a woman vomiting endlessly long bloody strands of hair. A woman's face gets slashed by a demon claw and her eye goes white because of it. Hands and feet are magically nailed to the floor when a witch hammers nails into a wooden triangle on the floor. Scary demonic faces, body contortions, and gory images, including a young boy's scarred and bloody face. A fair amount of jump scares. Women are held captive and chained. A woman is forced to drink goat's milk.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman in her underwear is forced to go through an exorcism. Some journals are looked through that have hand-drawn images of naked women.
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Somewhat frequent use of "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," and "goddamn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A woman shoots up heroin. Some scenes show her heating up a spoon that has heroin in it and then injecting it into her veins. Reaction shots also follow, and they show the woman feeling high, good, and hallucinatory.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Old Ways is a horror film in the exorcism genre. With a Latin American cast full of strong women characters, this thriller is heavily women-centered. In terms of violence, this is a very bloody film with a fair amount of body horror, but doesn't have much conventional violence. Most of the gore and grotesque stuff comes from the exorcisms, hallucinations, and weird demonic phenomena. Some animals get pulverized into bloody messes (a rat, a chicken). Scary faces, jump scares, and a generally dark and foreboding atmosphere help keep the tension and horror alive. Strong language throughout, but only "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," and "goddamn," are said. There is little sexual content beyond a few journals with drawings of naked women and a woman in her underwear getting an exorcism. Drug use (heroin) is also shown, and a woman shoots up 3-4 times. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This fantastical, bloody, and winsome horror movie thrills from start to finish. Except for a love it or hate it double ending, The Old Ways is a refreshingly simple and taut take on the exorcism horror genre. The film wastes no time jumping right into the drama, as Cristina is immediately imprisoned and told of the demon inside her. Over the course of a cool 90 minutes, Cristina's journey from victim to hero is compelling and fun to watch. She overcomes great hardship and even beats addiction. While there could have been more lore, flavor exposition, and context for the demons that so frequently possess people in this particular area of Veracruz, Mexico, the film still plays with the metaphor of demons and/or evil inside you as symbolic of various modern ills in peoples' lives today and the dangers of losing your culture, family, or heritage.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.