The horror genre has come a long way in the last decade, as evidenced by films attempting to explore socially significant themes through the lens of tragic, gory, and paranormal events or phenomena, using both classic techniques and original innovations.
Here is the directorial debut of Mexican director Michel Garza Cervera, the horror Huesera, which has made a splash at film festivals around the world, and supported by the brilliant performance of the lead actress Natalia Solian, in every possible way brings a special perception to a chilling story, the ending of which is sure to puzzle many viewers. With the opening sequence, the director sets a much-needed tone of unease that the audience begins to feel even before they get to know the characters and the story.
And this is a normal reaction, since “Dark Child” is a complex allegory of pregnancy, motherhood and the expectations that society places on women. The end result is a powerful message from the film, perfectly combined with a mind-blowing finale.
What is “Huesera” about?
The film opens with a young woman on a pilgrimage with her elderly mother. The statue they come to with the baby makes it very clear that the pilgrimage is reserved exclusively for women who wish to conceive. The camera pans to the statue of the deity from afar, and then it disappears and is replaced by a dark figure on fire in a dark room.
Next is the main character named Valeria, a middle-class woman who is struggling to get pregnant. At the beginning of the film, Valeria prays to a higher power to help her become fertile.
She also tries different intimate positions with her husband Raul to increase her chances of becoming a mother. In parallel, Valeria is making a crib for her future baby, putting all her energy into welcoming a new family member.
At first glance, it can be said that Valeria is dreaming of a long-awaited pregnancy, which should make her happier than ever. However, once she receives a positive test, she is haunted by a vision of a hideous, bony woman nicknamed “Wesera”. This supernatural being follows Valeria, endangering not only the baby in the womb, but also her family.
Things get so emotional and Valeria begins to doubt she’s ready for motherhood as she sees her world around her falling apart. And as the situation gets worse, the audience understands that Valeria’s desire to become a mother may come not from her own dream, but from the fact that persistent relatives and, above all, her husband demand her birth.
After that, scenes are shown from the past of the main character, who had a rebellious youth, and then she had a very close same-sex relationship with the girl Octavia, who dreamed of running away with her to the mountains and building a life away from civilization.
However, after the death of her younger brother, Valeria decided to take on the burden of being a model daughter for saddened parents. She cuts all ties with Octavia, grows her hair out, goes to college, and eventually marries a man.
As a consequence, Valeria ends up living not the way she really wants, but the way other people want her to, following archaic societal rules. However, once she gets pregnant, her body changes too much and too fast for her to ignore that having a baby is a path she can never turn back from.
As her pregnancy progresses, Valeria decides to meet up with her old friend, reminisces about her freedom before marriage, and mourns her time in her studio. She doesn’t want to be a mother anymore, causing Wesera to show up more and more often.
And so, when she almost kills her newborn child because of the Bone Woman, Valeria realizes that she must seek help. Even though she does not want the restrictions of motherhood, she is still responsible for the safety of the child. Therefore, she decides to perform a dangerous ritual of black magic in order to exorcise evil spirits.
During the ritual, Valeria is trapped in a dark dimension filled with nightmarish creatures and is tasked with holding a blanket representing her child. Before her psychedelic experience ends, Valeria sees Weathera steal the blanket. And before the entity ignites, Valeria finally realizes that this entity is herself, I am postpartum depressed and capable of putting the life of a newborn at risk.
The meaning of the film “Huesera”
The connection between the pregnancy and the time of Wesera’s first appearance becomes immediately clear, as Valeria has conflicting feelings about becoming a mother, as this being manifests her doubts, fear, and rage.
When Valeria has to watch her sister’s children and realize how horribly cruel and irresponsible children can be, Weather reappears and forces her to hurt her nephews. When she is paraded at a business dinner as a mother-to-be, it is Weathera who pushes Valeria to set fire to the crib.
And after giving birth, the creature even feeds Valeria’s bloodthirsty impulses so that she puts the baby in the refrigerator. At every turn in the story, Weser forces Valeria to do terrible things, but this supernatural threat is a reflection of the woman’s inner turmoil.
Also, in a flashback, looking very different from what she is now, escaping with Octavia while being chased by the police for drug use, Valeria yells “I don’t want to be tamed!”.
This very short scene actually says a lot about her psyche. Valeria tried very hard, giving everything to become someone she is not. It’s not her fault at all, because society makes you believe in certain things. As if a woman needs to have a husband and become a mother. From what is shown, it can be concluded that Valeria’s family is not entirely progressive. And the rebel in her died with the death of her brother as she decides to become the perfect daughter and woman.
But what Valeria does not initially understand is that a person cannot become what he is not, no matter how hard he tries. The bitter truth is that Valeria did not want to become a mother. She continued to deny this fact as it would make her someone who is not normal to those around her.
Explanation of the ending of the movie “Huesera”
Valeria’s postpartum condition continues to deteriorate. The creature continues to haunt not only her, but now also the child. The heroine decides she’s had enough, and it’s time to go to the extreme – to take part in this special magical ritual. For this reason, Octavia takes Valeria and the baby to a secluded place where their aunt is waiting for them.
And so the ritual begins. Several women sing some chants. After that, Valeria loses consciousness and finds herself in the forest at night, where she stumbles upon many creatures crunching bones. They swallow the girl whole. But Valeria continues to cling to the blanket until all entities disappear. As she loosens her grip, a creature emerges from under the blanket and looks back at the bloodied Valeria. And then the audience sees that it is someone other than Valeria herself.
The ritual performed successfully banishes Weathera because it forces Valeria to admit that she is not fit for her child. She decides to end her marriage, leave her child to be raised by a loving Raul, and finally lead the life she truly wants for herself. The final footage shows Valerie saying goodbye to her ex-husband and daughter before leaving them forever with a suitcase and a set of carpentry tools.
Ultimately, it becomes clear that although Valeria did not want to be a mother, at the same time it is obvious that she also wanted to save the child. That’s why giving the little girl to Raoul, someone who would gladly take care of her in the best possible way, seems like the only logical choice.