Luz: The Flower Of Evil (2020)

Director: Juan Diego Escobar Alzate

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Certification: 18

Starring: Yuri Vargas, Conrado Osorio, Sharon Guzman, Andrea Esquivel, Jim Muñoz, Johan Camacho, Daniel Páez, Marcela Robledo

It's clear a major event has occurred in the opening moments, as tranquil music plays over the aftermath showcasing sights to be unpacked. Scenery and wildlife are seen, as are tantalising sights of bones, and items abandoned or blood-stained. Whatever has happened, ones attention is held to uncover more.

Set deep in the Colombian mountains, a small farming community is rocked by the arrival of a mysterious young boy. Their leader, El Señor (Conrado Osorio), claims the child is the new Messiah whose arrival will save their land. As the community dissolves into madness and violence, El Señor's daughters begin questioning their father's beliefs.

Born from a unique vision, writer/director Juan Diego Escobar Alzate has crafted a dark concoction of folk-horror and western genres. Through the spiralling madness of El Señor, Alzate captures the lengths one can take religious fanaticism and how it can tear apart an isolated community. Such themes bring to mind 2015's The Witch, although Robert Eggers' feature did more gripping work within a tighter runtime.

Living under the thumb of the religious zealot, El Señor's daughters begin questioning his way upon discovering a tape recorder. In this suffocating landscape where their innocence is at risk, they find respite in shared bonds, music, or a hidden love. It's interesting material delivered in a way which can test ones patience, as the runtime drags on and the editing can be rather much. This doesn't deter from the gorgeous scenery, looking as though it was shot on technicolour film stock. It's an excellent aspect of a feature which feels lacking.

Luz: The Flower Of Evil is available on Digital Download now, and on Blu-Ray from 23rd August. It can be pre-ordered from Fractured Visions website.