Luciferina is a film that’s poorly-paced, filled to the brim with unlikable characters, features one the worst romances I’ve seen in years, and commits the biggest of all horror movie sins by not being scary in the slightest.
The story is centered around a a young woman named Natalie as she, her sister Angela, and Angela’s classmates (I would say “friends,” but most of them don’t seem to like each other despite hanging out) go to meet a shaman in a secluded temple to cleanse their souls and/or find answers to questions their family members won’t give them. Unfortunately, things go wrong and they find a powerful demonic force instead of inner peace.
Sounds a little formulaic but possibly interesting, right? Wrong. after an hour or so of set-up, I figured that the rest of Luciferina would’ve had decent scares peppered throughout, but it follows Natalie into a hallucinogenic vision/flashback (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that souls are apparently cleansed by ingesting a plant that gives you a bad trip) and sidesteps all of the scary stuff. The vast majority of the chaos in this movie happens offscreen. I don’t mean “offscreen” like the camera cuts away and we see blood splatter on a wall, but “offscreen” like Natalie finds corpses lying around when she returns from her vision. Instead of scares we get a laughably weak, painfully shoehorned, hyper-rushed romance, loads of poorly delivered and reiterated exposition, and a finale that was in all honesty, embarrassing to watch.
It’s not like any of those deaths would’ve have an impact if they’d been shown though, because I didn’t care about anyone in this movie thanks to Luciferina’s script. Natalie has the personality of driftwood, Angela spends all of her time going back and forth between angry or not angry at Natalie, and everyone else is either an insufferable asshole or painfully one-dimensional.
Then there’s that finale… Ugh. Luciferina’s “climax” is definitely something that I wasn’t expecting, but that’s only because it makes no sense within the context of the story and is tied to the aforementioned rushed romance. I’d really, really like to explain further why it’s terrible, and oh my goodness it’s terrible, but I’m afraid I’d end up in spoiler territory.
In summary, Luciferina is a boring, hollow slow burn that’s full of dull characters, devoid of any scares, and ends on a cringe-inducing note. It (amazingly) isn’t the worst horror film of 2018 so far, but it’s pretty damn close.