The Old Ways (2020)

director: Christopher Alender
release-year: 2020
genres: horror
countries: United States
languages: English, Spanish, Nahuatl

With quite literally zero lead-up, we're dropped straight into the middle of a kidnapping situation. A young American journalist is held in a Mexican shed, tries out some spanish, but ultimately fails to figure out why she is there.

Her hair always looks remarkably good for a kidnapping victim.

A one-eyed witchdoctor abuela in cool makeup comes in and tells her she has demons.

Demons are scared of milk and makeup.

Her captors force her to drink a lot of goat milk. Demons hate this one trick. Though, later evidence would suggest that they don't actually care.

Jugs turn out to not be the best drinking vessel.

Her cousin is there, too, apparently involved in the kidnapping. The journalist is only mildly bothered by this revelation. A bunch of heroin-fueled flashbacks inform us that the journalist is originally from here, but left at a very young age when her mom got demons.

The lack of anger is notable.

If you've ever seen a demonic possession/exorcism film, you know the drill. She's tied and chained and nailed to surfaces while gross objects are variously inserted into or extracted out of her. Sometimes she's friendly, sometimes she stabs people.

Snakes go in, teeth come out.

Instead of boring old catholic imagery, though, we get cool witchdoctor imagery.

It is implied that demons can only possess women.

La abuela fights a sandstorm and they both lose, which is the climax of the film. There are CGI sparkles to celebrate.

The sandstorm was the wrong demon.

The journalist didn't realize it was the climax, so the film just keeps going and they pretty much do the same exorcism cycle a second time, albeit on an accelerated schedule.

Luckily, she taught herself spanish in just a few days.

A quetzal hangs around, disinterested in the whole thing.

Birds are highly resistant to demonic possession.

Surprising nobody, the journalist decides to stop being a junky L.A. journalist and become a witchdoctor instead. She has a meeting with her boss to inform him of her career change, and that he has demons.

Is everyone in L.A. possessed?