Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)

tigers are not afraid poster 2017 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Simple and effective

Similarities to Pan’s Labyrinth

Movie Info

Movie Name: Tigers Are Not Afraid

Studio:  Filmadora Nacional/Peligrosa

Genre(s): Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  September 24, 2017 (Fantastic Fest)/November 2, 2017 (Mexico)/August 21, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

tigers are not afraid paola lara

Tigers aren’t afraid…but I can’t say I’m not

In a Mexican town ruled by drug lords, Estrella (Paola Lara) finds her school closed and is sent home where she finds her mother missing.  Joining a group of orphaned children living on the streets, the fight for survival becomes evident as Shine (Juan Ramón López) and the other children find themselves targeted by the drug lord Chino (Tencho Huerta) for the stealing of a cellphone with evidence of a crime.  Estrella has been gifted with three magic pieces of chalk from her teacher that can make wishes come true at a price.  Estrella must be strong…and tigers are not afraid.

Written and directed by Issa López, Tigers Are Not Afraid is a fantasy crime horror film.  The movie premiered at Fantastic Fest and was released on Shudder.  It received positive critical reviews.

I don’t have Shudder by I constantly see things on Shudder that I’d like to see.  Tigers Are Not Afraid was one of those titles.  Finally getting to see the film, I enjoyed it but it feels very similar to another movie in the same vein.

tigers are not afraid bodies

You know…I might just keep the light off

The movie is about a child trying to bring peace and balance to her life in the wake of chaos and death.  As a result, Estrella retreats into a fantasy world of wishes and dreams.  She finds the strength through the dreams and faces her fears.  The whole movie’s dreamlike quality really resembles Pan’s Labyrinth without as much fantasy elements.  The movie has the character relying on outside magical forces to protect her and make sense of what is going on, and like Pan’s Labyrinth, the magic might be or might not be real since it begins to blend near the end.

Kid actors are often pretty tough to cast, but the filmmakers got lucky with both Paola Lara who is able to carry much of the movie.  Her costar Juan Ramón López who both do a great job with some tough scenes and subjects.  They are joined by more child actors in smaller roles, but they too are quite good.

tigers are not afraid shine juan ramon lopez ending

Shine on!

The movie has a nice visual aesthetic.  The grim reality of the world that the characters live in is frequently demonstrated, but then it also has a strange magical feel of children living in a fort within the city.  They have a fishbowl on the floor and create a substitute family.  This is met with the horror of a criminal syndicate that isn’t afraid to murder women and children.

Tigers Are Not Afraid isn’t a traditional horror movie or a movie that leaves you rattled, but it is a good gothic-esque horror fantasy that should be sought out.  It isn’t a horribly long movie and uses its time effectively.  I am interested in seeing more from Issa López and what she has to offer…horror, drama, or whatever genre she decides to explore.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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