Friday, November 5, 2010

In short: Cazador De Demonios (1983)

aka Demon Hunter

A small town in Mexico. The shaman Tobias (Jose Tablas) is clubbed to death by a farmer believing the old man to be responsible for the stillbirth of his child. He might even be right about that, what with the shaman slaughtering a chicken over the wife's belly during delivery. Be that as it may, death doesn't stick with Tobias, and so he returns as a floating image by day and a murderous nahual/sasquatch/furry/demon/whatever by night. Tobias starts off with killing his murderer, but the dead guy isn't just satisfied with one single killing and so continues a random killing spree throughout the next nights that culminates in the kidnapping of the town doctor's wife Rosa (Roxana Chavez) for procreation usage. Unpleasantly, he's not as romantic as the Creature from the Black Lagoon when going about things.

The town's sheriff (Roberto Montiel), priest (Tito Junco) and doctor (Rafael Sanchez Navarro) will have to join their forces of authority to conquer the creature that is threatening their peaceful (well, if you can call a place where everyone's a violent jerk even without a supernatural threat going around peaceful) town and/or marriage. After the sceptical sheriff has stopped hunting for a bear with human saliva, that is.

Cazador de Demonios is one of those sad little films that could be contenders either in the league of cheap-but-good little films transcending their poor circumstances through tightness or cleverness, or in that of so-bad-they're-fun ones, but doesn't manage to get any further than to be sort of boring, kind of alright.

The film's budget doesn't seem as low as that of other Mexican horror films of its period, so there's a surprising amount of varied outside locations to see, no filler needs to find its way from the library on screen, and the actors are all perfectly competent. Unfortunately, the film's director and writer Gilberto de Anda doesn't know what to do with any of it, and so decides to very slowly set up a bunch of thematic threads (the typical duel between reason and faith, the fact that everyone in town seems rather…well…evil, the shaman demon's need to live out his physical cravings) that never build up to any kind of actual pay-off and instead just seem to hang in the film's air for no good reason whatsoever.

For a film about a murdering and raping creature, Cazador also turns out to be just very unexciting, which just might be caused by the film's complete lack of dramatic tension and the absence of ideas about how to sensibly fill its running time. You could probably cut out twenty minutes and would not lose anything important, except some of that feeling of tedium.

There's some skulking around in the dark, some screaming, some body parts, people wandering around and talking, a torch bearing mob appears at random, and in the end the movie's monster dies in one of the limpest final confrontations I have ever seen.

It's all so joyless and perfunctory I don't even have it in my to make fun of the hairy guy (understandably barely on screen) who is supposed to be the monster.


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