Samara Weaving Leads SXSW Horror Movie

Samara Weaving Leads SXSW Horror Movie

It apparently goes without saying that Azrael (Samara Weaving) deserves to be sacrificed to appease the ancient evils that lurk in the forest she calls home. And when she disagrees with that verdict and makes a desperate sprint for her life, it also goes without saying that her sadistic captors will stop at nothing to re-claim her and satiate their spiritual yearning for blood.

Quite a few things go without saying in “Azrael,” E.L. Katz’s new horror film set inside a cult that takes great care to avoid the mortal sin of verbal communication. Save for a brief encounter with a very confused outsider, the entire film passes without a single English word being spoken. Sporadic title cards guide us through the folk religion at the center of the film’s mythology, using vague poetry to explain that our antagonists have eschewed language as a way of separating themselves from the human nature they feel so much existential guilt about possessing.

But while their strict moral code has deemed speaking to be an irredeemable evil, violent human sacrifice is very much still on the table. Their forest is filled with demonic shadow-dwellers, and the nameless cult has found a detente with them by offering up the life of the occasional young woman. And so this saga begins with the simplest of premises: the silent cult wants to kill Azrael, and Azrael wants to avoid being killed. So she runs.

Much of the film plays out like a lo-fi version of “Mad Max: Fury…

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The post “Samara Weaving Leads SXSW Horror Movie” by Christian Zilko was published on 03/10/2024 by