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Historia De Lo Oculto Main

Historia de lo Oculto Movie Review

Written by Shane D. Keene

Released by Tangram Cine

history of the occult poster large

Written and directed by Cristian Ponce
2020, 88 minutes, Not Rated
Played at Fantaspoa 2021

German Baudino as Adrian Marcato
Nadia Lozano as Marie
Hectory Ostrofsky as Alfredo

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During “60 Minutes to Midnight,” a popular news show that’s been canceled, the last guest is Adrain Marcato—portrayed by German Baudino—a leading Satanist who begins to slow dole out details of a horrific conspiracy involving a coven and the top echelons of government.

A couple of things hit me immediately when I think about Historia de lo Oculto. First, it’s blatantly supposed to be an artsy, “thinking person’s” film—don’t you DARE say elevated to me—but, no matter how obvious that fact is, it’s only the intention I picked up from the screen. It doesn’t play out. It’s a directorial debut for Cristian Ponce, and while I’d like to be singing a song of brilliance here, I’m just not.

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As is normally my M.O., I’ll name the few things that didn’t totally make me want to chew on rusty razor blades. The use of black and white with occasional splashes of color in the mix is successful, but only in the way that’s already been done by films such as Schindler's List. The usage of red gives you a clear indicator of what’s to come—or you hope will—which is to say, violence, action, and/or a killer story. In addition, the 4:3 aspect ratio really reminded me of theater or drive-in vibes of the ‘70s. The acting is minimal and only authentic in the way a cross between The Blair Witch Project and Pontypool would feel. Which is kind of meh, but not a show stopper.

In the end, the eventual complete showstopper is the utter torturous boredom I felt through a great deal of the work. There are some really great one- or two-second visuals, a few genuinely scary minutes, but if you want to see those you can queue up the trailer and save yourself some grief. You can tell the director wanted to evoke more than a visceral response too. He wanted to leave you thinking, give you puzzles to solve. But the intended ambiguity doesn't work. It didn’t have me engaged enough to give one hair on a rat's ass about solving anything. Except for one problem: I have a bad habit of continuing to watch bad films, even after they reveal themselves. I could do without that.

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If you have too much time on your hands and a willingness to waste it with abandon, then History of the Occult is going to be your cuppa. If you like to stay awake through the movies you watch, it’s something to wipe your feet on while making your way to 2020’s The Queen of Black Magic or other, richly-storied, worthwhile films. I’d like to say director Cristian Ponce shows a lot of promise, but that would be a lie. But saying he sucks would also be incorrect. He’s a rookie editor with an eye for a scene and atmosphere who’s worth watching.

This film is part of Fantaspoa, which runs for free on the streaming platform Darkflix, from April 9th through the 18th. All film screenings are geo-blocked to Brazil, with additional details available at www.fantaspoa.com.

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Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover
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Cristian Ponce
About The Author
Shane D. Keene
Staff Reviewer - USA
Shane Douglas Keene is a reviewer, columnist, and poet living in Portland, Oregon. He spends his spare time drinking scotch and/or beer, playing guitar, and thinking of ways to scare small children and puppies. He pays meticulous attention to beard maintenance, mostly because it freaks people out, and he writes about dark fiction and poetry in various places, including his blog at Shotgun Logic.
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