Spoilers are hiding under the bed until it’s over.

There is a difference between a scary movie and a horror film and it’s easy to spot. In one, you’re fooled into thinking everything is safe and the danger stalks you waiting to jump out. In the other, nothing is safe and fear is already there and growing. This feature belongs to the second category were whatever is lurking about is already suspected and expected by the protagonist and the audience while everyone else seems oblivious to it, which has the added detriment of making the viewer frustrated. This is a good thing, believe it or not.

HUESERA (2022) is directed by Michelle Garca Cervera. Valeria (Natalia Solián) is finally pregnant and she’s overjoyed. Her boyfriend Raúl (Alfonso Dosal) is happy as can be. Their families are supportive, but Valeria’s mother and sister still tease her about some past event where she dropped a kid while babysitting. It’s this supposedly harmless callback that gets under her and the audience’s skin to show how cruel blood relatives can be without realizing it. In addition, her past also seems to come back after a run-in with Octavia (Mayra Batalla), a former lover that reminds Valeria of who she once was.

Valeria suffers from anxiety that manifests in her cracking her knuckles. The fact that it’s her mother and husband who usually stop her from doing that is very telling. But soon Valeria starts seeing what looks like a corpse with broken bones coming after her and can’t tell if she’s seeing visions or being stalked by an unknown entity. The expectant mother is willing to try her luck with occult practitioners hoping to stop whatever is after her but it might already be too close to stop. Valeria is fighting two battles, one for her own child against this creeping darkness and one for herself, trying to claim an identity she thought long left behind.

Very strongly recommended. This movie alone reminded me of what horror can be. It’s not always about jump scares, weekend escapades or scantily clad damsels in distress. In this story it’s really not about running anywhere, but standing your ground and fighting for the ones you love. It also has a bittersweet but honest ending that I found realistic and fitting. Very much worth a watch if you want to see horror with life choice consequences in the right mix.

That will do for now.