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Jonas Cuaron

Posted on August 28, 2017

Cuarón’s Desierto and the Rise of the White Man as Monster

Dawn

A 2015 Mexican-French production co-written and directed by Jonás Cuarón, Desierto is an intensely interesting film. Its stark plot tackles head-on one of the issues that has convulsed the US (and defined its relationship with its southern neighbor) since the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. Desierto is a horror film about immigration—specifically an illegal crossing from Mexico into the US, and it thus joins the equally provocative Undocumented (Chris Peckover, 2010) in what I’m sure is poised to be a newly emergent preoccupation of the horror genre.[i]

Desierto’s plot is simple—perhaps too simple (one of its flaw). A group of Mexicans are covertly crossing the border when their truck breaks down and they are left to head in the direction of the US on foot. Enter Sam (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his dog, Tracker, who picks off the members of the group one by one until only Moises (Gael García Bernal) and Adela (Alondra Hidalgo) are left.

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