Isaac Ezban makes “Mal de ojo”, a Mexican horror film that explores the transition to adolescence

Isaac Ezban read the script for “Mal de ojo”, made in the Dominican Republic by Junior Rosario, and liked the potential of the story. “I really liked the mythology, the mythology not only of witchcraft but of creatures, rituals, black magic, that I had never seen in a movie,” explains the director in an interview with TimeX and add: “And I saw the potential to build a plot very much in the sense of the great coming of age William of the Bulllike ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, ‘The Devil’s Backbone’, which use fantasy to talk about this transition to adolescence”

Thus, soon the “Mal de ojo” project, which would be a commissioned film, became one of his most personal films. “We did research to make the project happen in Mexico”says Ezban, “because we felt that if it was a movie for the Mexican public, it shouldn’t happen in the Dominican Republic.”

Although at first he had planned to locate it in Catemaco, a town in Veracruz famous for its witches, he chose to leave the location ambiguous. And while his previous three movies were science fiction, they hadn’t been without horror. “Every science fiction movie has to become a horror movie in the last 30 minutes.”

He added: “So, horror had always been my thing. What I like about ‘Mal de ojo’ is that anyone looking for a conventional horror movie about girls in the house of a witch who isn’t who she says she is, is going to get it.” find in this. And if you are looking for a more purposeful horror movie, with unexpected twists that make you think and that has the stamp of an author, you will also find it because here are the themes that have always obsessed me: identity, duplicity, reflections , Over time”.

What’s the story about

“Mal de ojo” follows Nala (Paola Miguel), a 13-year-old girl from the city, who travels with her family to her grandmother’s house (Ophelia Medina) in the countryside, to try to find a cure for his little sister’s mysterious illness. But he soon discovers that his grandmother is not exactly what she seems.

Shot in just six weeks, with girls, prosthetics and uncontrollable locations, Ezban painstakingly worked on the atmospheres of his film. “Cinema is always about building atmospheres, but in a horror film it is very important that these atmospheres really terrify you, unnerve you,” he says.. In fact, he worked his supernatural creatures in a real way.

I think that nowadays there is more and more of a tendency to create these creatures digitally and I feel that it looks fake. I expected to be able to make them in a real way and that is what we wanted to do with Roberto Ortiz, who is the greatest expert in prosthetics in Mexico and in that sense these creatures were designed for a whole year, sketches, drawings, concept arts were made to be able to work on it. . In the end these creatures were incredible. You see the creatures opening their mouths and there are three people behind them moving some hoses to make it work, “he adds.

“Mal de ojo”, which premieres on September 22 on 1,200 screens, represents a big premiere that Isaac Ezban hopes people will enjoy in the hundred despite the current trend to search for streaming content.

I am excited that I have achieved a commercial, conventional film, which at the same time has my touch and my approach, I hope that the film can connect with the mass public. In that sense, it is the most massive cinema that I have made, but I also hope that the fans who know my work can find that I am here, that they can find me in these worlds and, above all, that they open the door for it and that more horror films can be made. do”.

He concludes: “It’s being able to use the fantastic genre to talk about human, real issues. In ‘El incident’ I talked about the passage of time, in ‘The similarities’ I talked about identity, in ‘Paralel’ I talked about human ambition and in ‘Mal de ojo’ I talk about the transition to adolescence. Being able to tell these themes, which represent something for me, and being able to tell them from fantasy, and that the stories can connect with the public, entertain them and leave them thinking, is what motivates me the most to continue telling stories.“.

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Isaac Ezban makes “Mal de ojo”, a Mexican horror film that explores the transition to adolescence