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Huesera: The Bone Woman

The surprisingly chilling Tribeca award-winning feature “Huesera: The Bone Woman” is a smart, female-driven exploration of maternal fears.


Huesera: The Bone Woman deals with the horrors of motherhood in unexpected ways.

Valeria (Natalia Solián) and her husband Raul (Alfonso Dosal, Narcos: Mexico) are about to welcome their first child to the world. While dealing with her new pregnant life, Val finds herself cursed by a sinister entity, and the only way out is to enter a world of dark magic.

Pregnancy and horror have a long and storied history together. These films tend to trade in paranoia and jump scares. It is only in recent years that the sub-genre has focused more on the physical pain and discomfort that comes with being pregnant.

Huesera handles things differently.

It does not do away entirely with beloved horror tropes — there are jump scares and strange crawling creatures — but these are a small part of the movie.

The scares are much more subtle and personal.


This can be seen most in the sound design.

There are long moments of silence that underscore the introspection Val is going through. This is common in horror movies, but it is usually in the lead-up to a big scare. That is not always the case in Huesera. Juxtaposing the quiet are the sudden bursts of music that sometimes fill the air.

More often than not, it is diegetic music adding to the lived-in feel of the film’s world. 

Director Michelle Garza Cervera (also one of the writers) does an excellent job of creating tension. This comes from many different parts of Val’s life. Though she willingly goes through the physical act of making a baby, it becomes clear her heart is not in it. Her family also constantly gives her grief for a babysitting accident that happened years ago.

On top of everything else, she is a queer woman trying to shoehorn herself into a heterosexual life.

It all leads to a life filled with uncomfortable moments and restless nights. She is struggling to meet the goals of herself and her family, even if she does not even know what those really may be.

It also makes Val a sympathetic character.


She is constantly trying to meet what she thinks are everyone else’s expectations to her own detriment.

As the days and weeks pass, Val becomes less sure of what she wants to do with her future — or even of what she is capable of. She thinks more of her past as her family continues to mock her, and the once supportive Raul becomes less patient.

The third act moves away from the more patient storytelling and leans into the horror aspects.

While the scenes are just as well shot, they are ironically less scary than the rest of the film. After an hour of more understated terror, the more in-your-face moments just do not have the same effect.

This is noticeable but does not have a negative impact on Huesera: The Bone Woman, especially since it all leads to an understated but satisfactory ending.

The final moments of the film are a powerful culmination of the compelling story that has been told.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3.5
This widely praised Mexican supernatural horror film opens exclusively in theaters on February 10th and arrives on VOD on February 16th, 2023.

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