The Similars original title Los Parecidos is a Mexican horror mystery movie released in 2015, directed by Isaac Ezban. During an intense storm, a bunch of weird, bizarre events happens in a bus station where a group of strangers is stuck.
Hello, there! I’m dos Santos, and this is Ulven Reviews, with Movies and series from all over the world and all eras. Today’s review is of the 2015 movie The Similars.
Ulises (played by Gustavo Sánchez Parra) is in a station to get a bus to a nearby city where his wife is giving birth. Urging to get there before the delivery, he anxiously goes to Martín (played by Fernando Becerril), the cashier. The worker tells him the bus service was suspended because of the enormous storm in the region.
A distressed pregnant woman, Irene (played by Cassandra Ciangherotti), also gets to the station wanting to get out of there quickly. When warned about the interruption of bus services, she asks for a taxi. Ulises suggests that they share the taxi fares, and goes towards an indigenous woman (played by María Elena Olivares) to ask if she desires to join them. However, the elderly woman reacts in fear and rejection of Ulises.
While in the bathroom, Irene meets the creepy cleaning lady, Rosa (played by Catalina Salas). She’s also suspicious of Ulises and tries to block Irene’s exit of the bathroom. Rosa then falls having something that looks like a seizure.
The med student Álvaro (played by Humberto Busto), rushes to help Rosa. He had recently arrived at the station, after sharing a cab with Gertrudis (played by Carmen Beato) and her boy Ignacio (played by Santiago Torres).
Álvaro, who’s going to to a demonstration in Tlatelolco, says what Rosa is having is no ordinary seizure, but some kind of facial transfiguration. The same is happening to Martin and the indigenous woman, who are both blaming Ulises.
Then, Martin decides to get his shotgun, and things get completely out of control.
The Similars is set entirely on the morning of the 2nd of October 1968, an important date in Mexican history. That evening a horrible massacre took place, killing at least forty people, but could be up to three thousand.
The following information will be a summarization of an NPR article. The link will be in the description box below together with all the other sources and links I’ll use in this video.
It all began with a brawl between high schoolers after a football game. The riot police were called for them, but the students resisted for hours until the army came. The soldiers blasted a door with a bazooka and killed some students.
Why the army thought with would be a good idea to bring a bazooka to contain high schoolers is beyond me. But what’s even worse is that they actually used the bazooka, and kids died because of it.
Of course, this event led to more revolt and demonstrations. The authoritarian PRI regime, instead of deescalating and admitting they fucked up, said it would not tolerate more unrest and sent the army to seize a University and a Polytechnic Institute.
So we get to the 2nd of October. A big demonstration took place in the Tlatelolco Plaza, and the army was waiting for it to disperse at the end, so they could arrest the leaders. The soldiers were met by shots, so they opened fire at the crowd.
Later, the authorities have said the initial shots aimed at the military forces were taken by “infiltrated communist forces”. That clearly was a lie and a very used one by right-wing authoritarian regimes backed by the USA during the Cold War era.
I can already hear the right-wingers saying: It doesn’t matter if it were communists or students. What matters is that the army had the right to murder hundreds or thousands of innocents because they were shot at first.
However, official documents prove that a branch of the military positioned snipers in the surrounding building to shot at the troops to put the blame on the students and justify the subsequent massacre.
Another classic right-wing authoritarian regime backed by the USA move: Make a terrorist attack, massacre, or any other atrocity; blame it on the communists; and justify even more repression from the regime.
Back to The Similars, the events of the film preceded the massacre, has at least one character going to the demonstration, and have many references to the gathering throughout the plot.
However, the symbolism of the movie is not directly about the mass murder, but about the generalization of people. In the director’s words (translated by me): It’s a critique of wanting to impose us to be all alike, that we follow the same trends, that we have the same tastes.
I could also see in some dialogues, another type of generalization of people. One that even I am guilty of, sometimes. That we do of other groups as I did earlier with the general right-wingers, or in the film, what Ulises think of the students.
It’s a decent, yet subtle critique because the film is not about the social commentary, but more a nod to the sci-fi horror genre and entertaining. It’s different than how I view Bacurau, which is a social commentary made through entertainment.
In this department, The Similars succeeds. It’s an entertaining movie, and especially the two first acts, it’s very intriguing, making you curious and hooked, urging to know what the fuck is going on.
I discovered The Similars when I was searching for some list of the most bizarre movies, maybe it was from Rotten Tomatoes, but since I couldn’t find it again, I’m not sure.
I was not disappointed at all when it came to how actually bizarre the movie is. It’s a lot, and brilliantly. It ranges from intriguing to funny and passing through the disturbing on the way there.
As a story, the movie is only satisfactory, but that’s not due to a flaw in the storytelling, it’s just my personal taste. The first two acts are great, but I didn’t like the answers I got in the third one, neither how the story ended. Still, the climax had some decent scenes. My favorite thing was the dog with The Face.
Talking about the face, the transfiguration I mentioned in the plot summary makes everyone have the same appearance. Before this fact is made 100% known, the editing might seem random, showing photos of famous people, magazines, and Coca-Cola ads, but when we see these images later, they have changed as well. Then, we can understand why those things were shown in the first place.
The characters and acting are satisfactory enough, but they’re not the high point of the movie. My favorite role was by far Irene, a pregnant woman escaping domestic violence that put in the weirdest of the situations becomes the voice of reason for this group of strangers. She’s amazing, and Cassandra’s acting really does her justice.
As for the cinematography, it was really peculiar and enjoyable. It’s not among my favorites, but it definitely set the tone for the movie. It has faded colors, limited (but not too dark) lighting, and somewhat of a filter to simulate an older film. My favorite thing was the camera work, with some very compelling angles that are barely used anymore.
To complement it, the design of the film is an essential element to create this feeling of a movie set in 1968. Beginning with the costumes and hairstyles, very particular of that era and recreated perfectly. Then, there are all the props that I really enjoyed and made Martin’s room very believable.
Another positive point is the special effects. There are some well-made gore, and I love the characterization of the transfigured faces. They’re uncannily funny and made with practical make-up, not shitty CGI.
The music score is satisfactory but not remarkable. It’s a conscious decision to have a score inspired by the horror movies of the 60s that I absolutely love. However, I don’t love those films because of the score.
The Similars begins really well, setting a great atmosphere and making justice to the homages it makes. I enjoyed a lot the first two acts, but the last one really disappointed me. So, I’ll give The Similars 6 Moons.
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