Directed by Christopher Alender The Old Ways presents a classic tale of possession, both demonic and personal, with a fresh South American twist. In the film we follow Cristina Lopez (Brigitte Kali), a Mexican-American journalist, who decides to travel back to her home town in order to do a story investigating ancient spiritual practices. Upon her arrival Cristina is kidnapped by a group of locals who fear that she has become possessed after entering a sacred site, which she was warned to avoid.
Upon waking up after being captured Cristina comes to learn that her main captor is a bruja, female witch who specialises in exorcism. It is at this point where the horror elements ramp up in intensity as the bruja attempts to exorcise Cristina’s many demons. As the viewer we quickly come to learn that Cristina is fighting more than just spiritual demons, as she also has to battle emotional demons and drug addiction.
Given the films low budget it focuses on drawing out the fear though simple means – blood, snakes, creepy children lurking in the shadows and an unsettling soundscape. There are very few big set pieces or over exaggerated jump scares, which gives the film a visceral and intimate feeling and heights the horror.
Overall this is an enjoyable film, which could have pushed the exorcism genre to new heights had it simply dug a little deeper and delivered a more substantive payoff to conclude the story.