The Similars film review – FrightFest 2016

Mexican sci-fi The Similars goes full Twilight Zone to brilliant effect

It’s a dark and stormy night, and things are about to get very strange indeed in writer-director Isaac Ezban’s weird and wonderful The Similars.

This Twilight Zone-esque tale is set in a bus stop on 2 October, a rain-drenched night in 1968, as a group of employees and travellers are stranded.

Some are desperate to get to Mexico City no matter what it takes. Some just want some peace and quiet. Some are apparently happy to rant and rave in the corner. But this is no ordinary rain…

Suddenly, everyone starts to look like the frantic Ulises (Gustavo Sánchez Parra), their faces changing and sprouting beards. Suspicion immediately turns on the poor man, but is he really the one to blame? What about that rain? And what about that creepy child and his mother?

With its smooth-voiced opening narration letting us know that, no matter what the characters think, this is no ordinary night, a single inescapable location and a strong element of political commentary, Ezban is clearly influenced by the work of the great Rod Serling, and believe us, this is no bad thing. There’s even the character of Igancio, a sinister child who may or may not have something to do with what’s going on.

The filmmaker is clearly enjoying himself with his references to sci-fi classics but he doesn’t keep both feet planted in any one genre. There are a couple of surprising toe-curling horror moments and there’s a consistent current of dark humour throughout (as is only sensible when all your characters start sprouting big bushy beards, but there’s also a real intelligence to it and a sincerity to its warnings about the ease of conformity and the dangers of mob hysteria and persecution.

For all the fun Izban is having, he’s also making a valuable and powerful point.

With enough narrative complexity, homages to vintage science fiction and sheer entertainment to justify repeat viewings, The Similars is an absolute treat for genre fans and we highly recommend that you hunt it down as soon as possible.

This review of The Similars comes from our Horror Channel FrightFest coverage.