Offering up some Mexican chills for the Frightfest genre smorgasbord, The Exorcism Of Carmen Farias is one of those films to sit firmly in the ‘good but not great’ category.

There is nothing particularly wrong with it – and you will certainly be entertained – but it just brings nothing fresh to the table, along with leaning heavily on clichés and conventions you will have seen many times before.

Camila Sodi plays Carmen, a journalist who in the film’s opening scene is present at her mother’s bedside as she tragically passes away in hospital.

With no other family left and set to resume her life, Carmen is shocked at the reading of her mother’s will where she discovers that her grandmother’s old home, long since thought sold, still actually belongs to the Farias family and will indeed now be hers – if she wants it.

So off goes Carmen and partner Julian (Juan Pablo Castaneda) to check out the property – an old, ramshackle building in the middle of nowhere that only seems to exist in horror movies.

You know what I mean – dimly lit, with stacks of creepy dolls piled up, imposing paintings adorning the walls, Carmen’s dog barking wildly at ‘nothing’ – that sort of stuff.

Anyways, Carmen gets started sprucing the place up and is delighted when she stumbles across a stack of VHS tapes, complete with footage of a number of her childhood birthday parties. Trouble is though, she also finds another stash of tapes – tapes which suggest some pretty sinister stuff may have happened at the house…

There are echoes of numerous genre films on display here, and fans will no doubt be mentally ticking off the references as they unfold on screen – heck, even the title is pretty generic if we want to be brutally honest.

The performances are good – Soli as Carmen is likeable, resourceful and does the ‘in peril’ duties very well. Castaneda as Julian has little to do, but is more than compensated by the introduction of Juan Carlos Colombo as an ageing priest in the film’s second half.

Director Rodrigo Fiallega certainly knows how to handle a good jump scare – and avoids the film sliding into hysterics for the most part – and there is no doubt this is a slick, good looking film with high production values.

It is just a shame that, while The Exorcism Of Carmen Farias still has plenty going for it, you will undoubtedly sit there thinking you have seen it all before.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: The Exorcism Of Carmen Farias
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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle