An extreme retelling of the Red Riding Hood legend Jorge Molina's Ferozz is the debut feature by the Cuban cult director, one sure to draw thrill seekers and fans of transgressive film but also one sure to prove extremely difficult to find. Difficult because it is a film that could be considered illegal in many countries, so much so that its creator could potentially face criminal charges in many countries - my own Canada included - due to the extreme sexual content involving a character strongly implied to be in her young teens and played by an actress who appears to match the character's age.
To put it mildly Miranda's family has some problems. Farmers in a remote part of Cuba the family is governed by her sadistic grandmother, a drunken crone who dabbles in witchcraft. Her father, Lucio, is equally drunk and prone to violence against his wife and daughter, violence eagerly egged on by her grandmother. Her mentally challenged brother Dully is also her uncle, the child of Lucio and her grandmother, Lucio having impregnated his own mother. If there is hope for Miranda and her mother, Dolores, it comes in the form of her uncle Inocencio, a man who was training for the priesthood before returning to tend the family lands.
Life would appear to improve after the death of Lucio but while grandmother may have lost the muscle behind her threats with his death she still has her black magic to fall back upon and Dolores cautions Miranda against entering the jungle for fear of the Caguero, a sort of wolf spirit that possesses men and drives them to evil. And the brewing triangle of lust between Dolores, Inocencio and Miranda does not bode well.
Though Ferozz is being billed as Cuba's first horror picture - production having been completed well before Juan Of The Dead - it isn't really, Molina's influences pushing the film in other, weirder directions. Some characters - the grandmother and Dully - are played in a broad pantomime fashion, the grandmother by a man in drag in a style that recalls nothing so much as Terry Jones from Monty Python in one of his cross dressing routines, only vicious. Imagine Jones as Brian's mother in The Life Of Brian but drunk and cruel, cackling and encouraging his / her own son to sodomize his own wife - which he does - to teach her a lesson about respect for her elders and you have the starting point of Ferozz. Then add to the mix the sort of Euro art sleaze of Jess Franco and similar directors and you have Molina's basic mix.
Once you accept the budget limitations, the cheap digital look of the cinematography and the bizarre style mashup it's obvious that Molina has talent, the film boasting a number of very effective and compelling sequences. However, unlike a picture such as A Serbian Film which uses extreme sexual violence to underscore a larger point there does not appear to be anything undergirding Molina's work other than the desire to leer at his young star. The film feels like provocation without purpose with a pair of sequences in particular feeling almost indefensible. Though no animals were harmed in the making of the film let's just say that PETA would not be happy with Molina's use of a puppy in one key moment.
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