In Tigers Are Not Afraid (now available to watch on Shudder), young actress Paola Lara plays an orphan named Estrella who joins a gang of kids in an unnamed Mexican town and attempts to evade the murderous attentions of a drug cartel. The fantastical twist? She is armed with three wishes.
Written and directed by Issa López, the film accrued rave reviews on the horror festival circuit as well as the endorsements of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Guillermo del Toro, the latter of which López is now collaborating on her next project, a werewolf-Western.
But which recent big-screen terror tales have freaked out López herself? Below, the director recommends three modern horror classics.
LAKE MUNGO (2008)
“One of my favorite horror movies, that I can watch over and over again, is Lake Mungo. It’s Australian and it’s beautiful. It’s a mockumentary and it’s so well executed as a mockumentary that it actually fooled me. Someone gave me a disc, and it started, and I go, ‘Oh my god! They gave me a documentary! I thought they were going to give me a horror movie.’ It is a horror movie, but it’s so moving, and so beautiful, and so sad.
It’s a homage, I’m sure to Twin Peaks. It’s the story of this girl that goes for a picnic with her family by a lake in Australia she and drowns. It’s beautiful, and it’s really, really, really good, and it’s tiny. I’m always in awe when you deliver the goods and it’s not about the flash and the crash.”
UNDER THE SHADOW (2016)
“It’s crazy, and it’s really scary, but again it’s about something bigger than a horror story. But horror captures horror. These are the movies that really move me. It’s a really scary movie.”
“I haven’t been this scared in a movie theater in ages. I watch everything. Terrified? Jesus, that’s a scary movie. I was watching it in a film festival, and the director (Demián Rugna) was sitting behind me. I kid you not, 20 minutes in, I wanted to leave the theater because I was scared sh—less. But I had to stay, because the director was there, and he was going to be offended. I’m glad I stayed because it’s a really good movie. I love it. I sent it to Guillermo. I introduced them, and Guillermo’s producing the remake in English with Demián directing. I’m super happy for them.”
Watch the trailer for Tigers Are Not Afraid at the top of this article.