Emily Mody - Tigers Are Not Afraid (CUFF 2018)

Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 08:00 PM

Tigers Are Not Afraid (CUFF 2018)

Review by Emily Mody x CalgaryMovies.com

Tigers Are Not Afraid, directed by Issa Lopez, is a Mexican feature length, narrative horror film. The story follows a young girl named Estrella (played by Paola Lara) who’s world is turned on its head when her mother disappears. Living in the shadow of the Mexican cartel, facing horrific violence becomes a way of life for the children who were born into these areas. One day when Estrella’s teacher asks her students to write their own fairytales, Estrella finds an escapism from the terror of her everyday life. When Estrella’s mother does not return home she is forced to draw on the only resource she can utilize – four young orphans who have got used to fending for themselves.

This film is truly unlike any horror film I have ever seen before. The fantastical elements and the dark fairy tale aspects were lovely. Lopez took the horror genre which typically emphasizes films that are both grotesque and abrasive and made something so beautiful and yet still terrifying. Forced together by circumstance, these children who did not know one another became family. Naturally hesitant at first, the children’s relationship was shaky and based only on survival but as time moved forward they grew to love and support one another. The acting was stunning, particularily how moving and authentic all of the characters were. The writing was very well done. The story is a perfect blend of metaphor, horror, and fantasy to make a truly immersive although heartbreaking experience. The use of magical realism is perhaps the most relatable aspect of this film. No matter the struggles we face as individuals we all need strength to get through them. Estrella got her strength from the stories she told. This is conveyed powerfully.

Something about Tigers Are Not Afraid reminds me of Pan’s Labyrinth. In general, I think Pan’s Labyrinth emphasizes a much more fantastical story basis and Tigers Are Not Afraid is seated much more heavily in reality but there are certainly comparisons to be drawn. Magical realism pervades both stories as a way to demonstrate how the characters cope with their trauma. Both films are shown from the perspective of children and how they utilize their autonomy to gain control of their lives.

Tigers Are Not Afraid runs a total of 83 minutes. It is a Mexican film and all of the characters speak Spanish, therefore it will be shown with English subtitles. It is also important to note that this film contains language, violence, gore, and horror.

I highly recommend Tigers Are Not Afraid to anyone who enjoys a rich story and does not shy away from the horror that pervades the lives of children just like the ones shown in this film. I cannot say enough good things about this film. If this review peaks your interest in the slightest. please go and see it. Tigers Are Not Afraid is a remarkable film that demonstrates the irrevocable power of the human spirit.

Tigers Are Not Afraid will be screening as a part of the 15th Calgary Underground Film Festival 2018 (CUFF). Catch it on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 at 7:15pm or Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 at 1:45pm at the Globe Cinema.

Calgary Showtimes: Tigers Are Not Afraid >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.