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Tigers Are Not Afraid            review by Bobby Blakey

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With all the varying streaming services these days it was only time before a horror took front and center. Shudder is one of the premiere services for the genre and has been on a role with their varying films and originals. The latest, Tigers Are Not Afraid is a Mexican horror/thriller featuring an unknown cast and has received high praise from the likes of Stephen King and Guillermo Del Toro. Could this film live up to its acclaim or will it be haunted by the struggles it deals with?

Tigers Are Not Afraid follows a group of orphaned children who are unexpectedly given three magical wishes. As they run from the cartel that murdered their parents and the ghosts that haunt them, they must decide how to use this special gift to save their own lives and the people they love. I must admit that going into this I had a different perception of what the tone and overall story was going to be. It is nothing like I expected and I love it for that because it took me on a different journey than I had expected.

The film isn’t so much of a horror film as it is more about life, loss and survival in the real dangers of Mexico. There are varying supernatural elements to the story that elevates it to something more than real life, but is very much grounded in it as well. The entire film is centered around this group of kids and their world that they have had to create to survive on their own. All of them are great in the roles with each of them bringing so much emotion and pain to their characters. You can sense their fear, sadness and dread to not only what’s happening, but also where their lives are in general.

I was going in expecting a scary tale and while the elements are there it’s really more sad than anything. The real nature of the dangers in Mexico that these kids deal with makes it so much more powerful than just another horror flick and all the scarier in that regard. The simplistic nature that they go about using effects, both practical and CGI to incorporate these elements use the less is more approach and work to perfection. Surrounding these elements are the true dangers to their lives which are the living people involved in it all.

I had high hopes for this film and it delivered way more than expected. Going in know it’s not a full on horror film in the traditional sense, but instead one filled with both real and supernatural horrors that blend to perfection. You can feel the personal touch that director Issa Lopez has brought to her script and the finished product and it shines through in this unique film that I hope continues to find the audience it deserves.

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