Legend of El Cucuy
SYNOPSIS: Legend of El Cucuy is a cautionary tale. Laura and her
husband Carlos are permissive parents, and their choice to raise their
daughter Isabel without discipline has resulted in a very rude,
disobedient child. Carlos is having doubts about their behavioral
strategy, but Laura is determined to make different choices from their
parents. Against his better judgment, Carlos tells Laura about El
Cucuy’s origins, and that same night, El Cucuy pays the family a visit.
Filmmaker Cynthia Garcia Williams brings her short horror film Legend of El Cucuy to Slamdance 2024. This boogie-man-style folklore film boasts fantastic Special FX makeup. As a former teacher, Isabel’s mother and her permissive parenting style made me seethe, and our little leading lady is a terror. I recall El Cucuy referenced in films before, but I’ve never heard the history behind it. Essentially, it is an allegory for shitty parenting. While I wasn’t completely sold on the performances, I think the film is a solid pitch for a feature.
14 minutes) English/Spanish
When her son’s life is put at risk at a family pre-wedding ritual, a hard-of-hearing mother must decide how to seek help for her husband in order to keep her family safe.
Filmmaker Radha Mehta, who shares screenplay credit with Noorah Al-Eidi, brings us the story of Karishma, a hard-of-hearing mother trapped in a traditional Indian marriage with a man who refuses to admit he has a mental illness. Cinematographer Isue Shin captures the balance between the lush colors of an Indian wedding ritual and the darkness of Karishma’s emotional state. Renu Razdan captivates as our leading lady. The camera loves her. Razdan owns every frame, moving from sadness, protection, grief, and joy like a star. This little drama about attaining peace is a cathartic sigh of relief.
Director: Radha Mehta
Story: Radha Mehta
Screenplay: Noorah Al-Eidi & Radha Mehta
Producer: Gabriel Gutierrez
Cinematographer: Isue Shin
Production Designer: Sandra Rodriguez
Editor: Joe Murphy