Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
A mysterious visitor offers gratification to the sexually oppressed in this arresting mix of hard-edged realism and bio-sci-fi from Mexican provocateur Amat Escalante (Heli). Alejandra and her husband Angel live with their young sons in Guanajuato, Mexico. While the swaggering Angel lords it over his family, he’s also lining up his next furtive hotel room hook-up with Fabián, Alejandra’s brother. The gentle humanitarian in the film, Fabián works in the local hospital. He too strains under the yoke of the domineering Angel.
One day a young stranger arrives at the clinic, strung out but strangely exhilarated, with what appears to be a dog bite. Soon she befriends Fabián and Alejandra and observes that maybe they should be getting some of what she’s been getting. She directs them to a chalet in the countryside where a scholarly elderly couple harbour the mysterious guest. Not everyone granted access to the chalet comes out exhilarated. As in the fierce Heli, Escalante’s indictment of posturing machismo is graphic, incisive and super-realistic. Envisaging its nemesis as nature consumed by sexual ecstasy, he’s created one memorably weird mash-up of a movie.
“Sex, death and the extremely weird intersect – or perhaps that should be intertwine – to unnerving effect in The Untamed… This unarguably disturbing and compelling cinematic UFO has cult potential in the same way as other sexually charged essays in the uncanny, notably Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and Andrzej Zulawski’s notorious tentacle-laden 1981 film Possession, with which it shares a distinctive creepiness.” — Jonathan Romney, Screendaily