Untamed” is an appropriate description of Amat Escalante’s latest film, which uses a relatively benign plotline — an unhappy couple have secrets to spare, and then a compelling newcomer arrives in their town — to frame up one of the most wild films of the year.
“The Untamed” follows married couple Alejandra and Angel, who are struggling to connect thanks to both petty domestic squabbles and a massive mystery that could upend not just their relationship, but their entire family and their provincial city. When the mysterious Veronica arrives and befriends Alejandra’s brother Fabian, she introduces some unexpected new elements into everyone’s lives, and no one will be the same. Sounds standard, right? Hardly.
Soon, Veronica and her new acquaintances are trotting off into the nearby woods — where, not to worry, a meteorite has recently landed — to meet a mysterious creature that offers up both pleasure (yes, that kind) and pain to the various people who come to interact with it, including Alejandra, Angel, and Fabian. Part horror story, part sci-fi outing, and part “wait, what the hell is that thing?,” the film deftly blends relatable problems with some very out of the box solutions.
The film was a hit on the festival circuit, where it earned Escalante accolades at events as diverse as Fantastic Fest (so you know it’s insane) and Venice (where the director won the Silver Lion and was nominated for both the Golden Lion and the Queer Lion), and it’s now bound for a limited release, all the better to hit more audiences right in the ol’ shock and awe.
Put it this way: you’re guaranteed to gasp at least once — a big one, borne of shock and maybe fear — during this trailer, and this is just two minutes of the entire film. Check it out below, and prepare yourself.
“The Untamed” will hit limited release on Friday, July 21.
IndieWire by Kate Erbland