Kyle Cubr reviews “The Untamed” for Cine-File Chicago

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Fiercely original in subject matter, THE UNTAMED is an exploration into primal instinct and urges. Alejandra and Ángel’s marriage has grown distant, thanks in large part to Ángel secretly cheating on his wife with her brother, Fabián, who is a doctor. Meanwhile, Verónica has recently become friends with Fabián after she’s been admitted to the hospital for bite wounds she suffered from an obscure creature featured during the film’s opening. It is discovered that this creature is actually an alien that arrived on Earth via a meteorite and that causes both humans and animals to succumb to their most immediate and primal urges, primarily sex (including acts performed with the alien itself). While capable of instilling great pleasure, the alien has a more sadistic side that doles out pain to those that it grows tired of. This interweaving of carnal yearnings and forbidden love triangles is what makes THE UNTAMED so distinct. Amat Escalante creates a shroud of mystery over the film, as only slivers of backstory are revealed, in piecemeal. Striving for a sense of realism in sci-fi can be ham-fisted at times, but Escalante combats this by sticking the viewer right in the action through his use of natural lighting and diegetic sound. His dual use of light to create a sense of warmth when things are good and the void that is left when these features are not employed leave the viewer in a sort of moral purgatory as the characters are left to traverse their emotional landscapes. THE UNTAMED is a hypersexual mystery about the innate desires of mankind and how those notions can all shift when an enlightening figure forces introspection.

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