In case you missed the news, Mexico has a new master of genre cinema and his name is Isaac Ezban. After making a name for himself with a handful of shorts, Ezban exploded onto the scene in 2014 with his debut feature El Incidente (The Incident), which he quickly followed up with 2015’s Los Parecidos (The Similars).
Seemingly taking a cue from Luis Buñuel’s Mexican masterpiece, El ángel exterminador (The Exterminating Angel), Los Parecidos mixes up the classic fantasy-horror of The Twilight Zone with some low-key social commentary to tell the story of a provincial bus station full of waiting passengers who just can’t seem to leave.
The social commentary comes from the notorious date Ezban has chosen for this throwback genre homage: October 2, 1968, which most Mexicans will recognize as the day of the despicable massacre of protesting students at Tlatelolco. But aside from some shades of paranoia and discrimination amongst the stranded passengers, Los Parecidos seems to be more about mutating bodies than government repression.
Indeed, over the course of the passenger’s inexplicable wait, they begin to fall into strange seizures and undergo “genetic mutations” that only heighten the paranoia and mistrust among the passengers. All of this plays out in a slick, stylized visual approach reminiscent of the hyperreal comic book noir of Sin City, together with ample Hitchcock references in everything from the tense, string-heavy score to a Psycho-worthy knife incident.
After an extremely successful festival run, Los Parecidos will be making its way to Mexican theaters in October.