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Review: LUCIFERINA (2018)

Artsploitation has been on a roll lately with their releases of MOLLY and TRAUMA. Now they’re back with Gonzalo Calzada’s (RESURRECTION) trippy Argentinian black magic film LUCIFERINA.

Natalia (Sofía Del Tuffo) is a nineteen-year-old novice nun. She’s forced to return home after an accident kills her mother and leaves her father in critical condition. While she’s home, her slightly less upstanding sister Angela (Malena Sanchez, DAMAGED, VIRUS: 32) convinces her to go on a trip with her, her boyfriend Mauro (Francisco Donovan), and some others. They’re going to an abandoned nunnery to meet a shaman. And take psychedelic plant extracts as part of a ritual.

But rather than purify their souls, it unleashes something dark and evil. There are some infernal secrets in the sisters’ family, and they’re about to be revealed. And all Hell will break loose when they do.

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Natalia was already having visions before she left the convent, and you know they’ll only get more intense as the film goes on. At times LUCIFERINA reminded me of a Ken Russell film, not so much THE DEVILS, but ALTERED STATES and THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM with the religious imagery of its hallucinogenic scenes.

The scenes during the ritual, and what it reveals to Natalia, are well shot, quite effective. The cinematography in LUCIFERINA is excellent, which helps make some of its slower spots easier to bear. At just under two hours, it could have used a bit of trimming. But once we get to the last half hour, the film moves inexorably to its figurative and literal climax. One that, according to the end credits, sets things up for the rest of a trilogy.

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If it does come to pass, I hope the other two films, Inmaculada and Gotica, are more like the second hour of this film than the first. Because LUCIFERINA is at its best when it leaves sanity behind and delves into its dark side.

While not as good as the last couple of films from Artsploitation, LUCIFERINA is still worth seeing. LUCIFERINA will be available on November 20th on Blu-ray and DVD in North America. On December 4th, the film will launch on Digital HD.

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