Not all good intentions are welcomed by those who do not understand or respect the lives of others. Curiously this is a lesson that the main character of Feral, despite trying to teach three children how to become functional people for society, doesn’t understand— Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Based in the 1980s, in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, Feral tells the grim story of how a psychoanalyst priest cares for and educates a group of lost children. The purpose of the priest is to reintegrate them into society but his teachings under the wrong influence can bring fatal effects to an atrocious denouement.
Developed in the styles of mockumentary and found footage, Feral begins in the darkest way possible and maintains that vibe throughout the film. The simple act of opening the curtain like a mockumentary goes a long way in defining the tone of the film— an unnerving tone that can create some discomfort on the viewer for the events to come. The story that is created based on real events to feed its own fiction is more exciting than waiting for the outcome of the story because we get to know it from the first minutes. It is a complete story from beginning to end where it is detailed from the birth to the death of a fictional character— it is impressive how they take care of every piece of information and element of his life that, despite not presenting them in order, everything comes as a perfect thread.
It creates so much expectation for the moment when it comes time to see the videotapes that compile the deeds and experiences of the priest teaching the children— it comes to have a great effect and some discomfort when seeing a very ad hoc edition so that you stay anchored to the edge of your seat waiting for everything to happen. Even the claustrophobia that is experienced on the screen when maintaining a horizontal frame but limited by extending the 4:3 image can be replicated on the viewer’s feelings. The transitions between scenes are beautiful as they show in a panoramic way the great natural and picturesque foliage that Mexico has.
It should be clarified that Feral is not in itself a horror film although it largely uses elements that integrate the genre— and that is why it creates such an uncomfortable effect. In itself, it functions more as a representative analogy for post-conquest evangelism and acts justified by conservative ideals, fear, and ignorance. It has so many metaphors that I would not be surprised if it represented more themes that are hidden among so much self-analysis.
Feral is a masterpiece disguised as a horror film. Either way, this movie can be categorized into several genres due to the versatility it shows in its story or its interesting twists, even though we know the sad ending of the story from the beginning. The only question I have left of the whole story is where so many lost children came from— but I suppose that could be an interesting prequel.
9 OUT OF 10 VIDEO TAPES