Certainly releasable, but only a goatee hair above watchable, the horror film is co-produced by Machete man Robert Rodriguez (no relation), who also wrote the original screenplay — “original” only in terms of it being rewritten, as there’s nothing new you haven’t seen 100 times before. To less adventurous viewers, I suppose the story’s being steeped in Mexican superstition may seem novel. It’s definitely the hook on which this thin coat hangs.
Robert Rodriguez regular Carlos Gallardo is the title character of — this is a stretch — Carlos, who has the power to peer deep into people’s souls. This unique skill is needed by a federal agent (Gizeht Galatea) investigating a string of murders by a satanic cult created in 3 B.C. One of Carlos’ recurring tricks requires an egg, which can get messy — as messy as the Spanish-language movie’s laughable English dub.
But not as messy as the ever-present corpses bleeding while suspended from the ceiling. Eduardo Rodriguez gives you a lot of this. In fact, he overdoes it in presenting Carlos’ startling visions. For example, while dining with the agent at a steakhouse, the vegetarian Carlos imagines her eating live bugs and gore. Whereas one or two shots of this would have sufficed, Rodriguez doesn’t trust you’re smart enough to get the point, so he just keeps dishing it out.
Plus, it feels like padding. Most of Curandero does. Not only about 20 minutes remain do we get a glimpse of the all-too-brief creature promised by the subtitle. It’s a good one, but hardly worth a near-interminable wait. The same can be said for the DVD’s delayed release. —Rod Lott