Hey gang, Valkor here. Ever since Creepshow, I've always been a huge fan of horror anthologies – mostly because they serve up different stories that tend to hold my interest. And ever since starting TOV, I've reviewed a few that have been huge hits with me such as Burning Palms (a definite homage to Creepshow) and Do Not Disturb. This next anthology gives you horror with a Mexican twist. The film is called Barrio Tales and while not as good as the aforementioned film, it still holds its own quite well.
Barrio Tales is anthology film that's linked together with a story that centers on two American teens that've gone down to Barrio, Mexico to score some drugs. Out of nowhere a stranger appears and after a heated exchange, he tells them he knows who they're looking for and that he'll take the kids to him. When they arrive at the spot, the guy they are looking for, Pedro isn't there, but the stranger says he'll return shortly. And thus the stranger tells the teens three tales of horror, each in one way or another, involves the shady little town they're in.
Maria – Newly hired maid Maria, is murdered after a bit of horseplay from four entitled teens and their friends. Sensing her death, Maria's grandmother places a curse on the four boys. Revenge is bittersweet.
Uncle Tio's Taco Truck – You want the best tacos in town? Then you need look no further than Uncle Tio's. Too bad the main ingredient is people. And when the truth about what Tio puts in his tacos is revealed, it's up to one little girl to put an end to Tio's cannibalistic reign of terror.
El Munstruo – a group of "just crossed the border" Mexicans, meet a torturous fate by a hand of rednecks who don't care for their kind. One escapes and then it's time for some payback.
But what about the two boys who were looking for Pedro? If you watch the film, from the jump, you'll know exactly what'll happen to them. So there aren't too many surprises in store. Barrio Tales is a mix of horror, comedy, and social commentary rolled up into an 8o plus minute film. Is it worth watching or does this film get tossed into the pile of shame?
Barrio Tales is a pretty decent horror, with a quirky sense of a humor and a solid story to back it up. I didn't think much of it going in at first until the stories kicked in. After that, I was all in. Plus seeing how the social commentary plays out (crossing the borders, hiring day laborers, Mexican maids, entitled teens going to Mexico for drugs), made it that much interesting. You won't lose much sleep from the horror bits - they're not all all that scary, but at least the film is entertaining with a sweet dose of gore and quite a few chuckles. The acting all around is pretty cheesy, but for this type of film I wouldn't expect anything less. I've sat through my share of anthologies and while Barrio Tales isn't one of the best, it's certainly not the worst.
Here's where I get to pick apart the film just a tiny bit; In Uncle Tio's Tacos… hmmm… I liked the story, but I didn't care for the ending. The female lone survivor of the film is stalked in her home by Tio. He leaves a message at her front door and she's pretty much clear to make a break, but she goes back inside the house. And before I knew it, the black man in me started screaming to the high heavens at the screen. The only saving grace for Uncle Tio's Tacos is the soylent green joke, the remainder of the bit however felt kinda flat. The film is also quite predictable, plus the stories could have been shaved down as they tend to drag; plus another story could have been tossed in the mix.
The three dudes in the "Maria" story who lose their sight, sound, and speech. Such a bloody mess.
Barrio Tales is available now on DVD and digital download. And if you're looking for a decent horror to kill some time, then give this one a shot; it's creepy, cheesy and sure to please. Again it's not one of the best anthologies, but also not one of the worst. So I'm gonna meet Barrio Tales half way and give the film a strong 2.5 out of TOV 5 stars.