For every subscriber who complains that Shudder doesn’t have enough to offer, there are two more like me, who appreciate all of the films we might have missed if we didn’t subscribe. Tigers Are Not Afraid is one of those films.
Tigers Are Not Afraid is a Mexican film, so you will have to contend with subtitles…but it’s SO worth it. It’s a horror/fantasy portrayal of the real-life Mexican Drug War, and it’s heart-breaking, because it deals with children who have been made orphans due to it.
We first meet Estrella, who is in class when gunfire erupts outside her school. Her teacher gives her three talismans that she says will grant three wishes. Sadly, when Estrella gets home, her mother is missing, taken by human traffickers. As most of us would as children, she wishes for her mother’s return.
Anyone who is familiar with the tale of The Monkey’s Paw knows in what general direction this will lead, and Estrella begins to see scary visions of her mother.
Tigers Are Not Afraid is at its best when it focuses on the kids
Estrella eventually ends up joining a group of street orphans consisting of Shine, Pop, Morro (the youngest of the group, who has a stuffed tiger) and Tucsi. While Shine in particular resents having her as part of the group, he makes a deal with her: If she will kill a gang member named Caco, she can stay. That task is accomplished, but Estrella doesn’t exactly do it alone, and as we know, when a wish is granted, a price must be paid.
As the group of kids seek revenge on the gang members who have made at least some of them orphans, they encounter a lot of violence, and let’s just say they don’t all make it out alive. Tigers Are Not Afraid is a violent film, but thanks to the extremely talented child actors (particularly Paola Lara and Juan Ramon Lopez as Estrella and Shine), it’s also one with a lot of heart. But make no mistake, this is no sweet, fluffy kid’s adventure tale.
If you just want your horror to be gory and fun, this might not be the film for you. But, if you appreciate horror that draws you in emotionally and tells a deeper story, it’s a nearly perfect film for your Halloween viewing.