Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)
November 4, 2023 2:37 PM - Subscribe

A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war. Trailer.
posted by johnofjack (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, I thought I had the original title in there but it lost it (probably when I put in the IMDb URL instead).

The original title is Vuelven (They Return), though the phrase "Los tigres no tienen miedo" (tigers are not afraid) appears a few times in the film.

I don't know how to describe this film, really, though I think the poster image and the Shudder production might be doing it a slight disservice. If you're expecting some Exorcist/Night of the Living Dead level of horror, you might be disappointed. I thought it was less intense than most of Guillermo del Toro's films (though it did put me in mind of a collaboration between Guillermo del Toro and Héctor Babenco); to me it felt more like a dramatic film about dark subjects, with occasional ghosts. I did like it quite a lot though.

Also, the child actors are amazing.
posted by johnofjack at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2023 [4 favorites]

Oh yes; this is a fabulous, emotionally intense, haunting, beautiful and all around great little film. Sure, not quite full-on horror, but who cares? And the kids are indeed fantastic in it. Doesn't overstay its welcome at 83 minutes, either, but feels complete. Such a neat watch.
posted by mediareport at 7:54 PM on November 4, 2023

The trailer captures it nicely, I think, if anyone needs more than the 3 rave quotes at the beginning from Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and del Toro.
posted by mediareport at 7:55 PM on November 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

I keep suggesting the show the Last Drive In with Joe Bob Briggs, but I don't think anyone has ever bothered with it which is a shame. He showed this movie earlier this year and went into detail about how Issa Lopez got it made (which involved essentially holding her own talent hostage) and how she worked with the child actors on a movie that has such disturbing content. Lopez had no idea JBB was going to do this and woke up to the following day to a tone of twitter posts about her movie and was absolutely delighted. If you're interested in learning more about it, I highly recommend checking it out.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:09 AM on November 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

I keep suggesting the show the Last Drive In with Joe Bob Briggs, but I don't think anyone has ever bothered with it which is a shame.

(Rant warning)

I love your contributions so much, miss-lapin, but think there's serious backstory about Joe Bob you might be missing which could explain why some folks (me, I mean) aren't interested in what he has to say. I used to read him back in the 90s when he was doing naked breast counts for every movie (he still does those, I think?) when I was a growing fiend for horror shit, but once the internet happened and smarter, less sexist and homophobic commentators were easy to find, I rarely looked back. Joe Bob Briggs punched down at women, LGBT folks, immigrants and other marginalized communities for far too long for me to bother with him now, and that didn't stop with his stint at Shudder starting in 2018. This critique, Horror has a Leadership Problem, and this article at Gayly Dreadful, Queer Mutants Deserve Better, were both widely discussed in 2020 and capture well the moment many folks wrote him off completely.

Here, look for yourself, an archive link to the right-wing site owned by a Nazi sympathizer that hosted Briggs' completely stupid, sneering rant about gender identity labels. August 2019 was not that long ago. Or how about this wonderful piece from 2017 at the same site, which argued "We need to start listening to these White Pride guys in the polo shirts and khaki pants. And we need to start arresting the Antifa thugs." after the racist Charlottesville attacks? I mean, that's about as obnoxious a distortion of those events as you're ever likely to find from a movie critic.

All that said: you know, at that time I still went ahead and watched a bunch of Briggs' stuff on Shudder, to make sure I wasn't wrong about him. The one I recall best is his show about Hellraiser that failed utterly to address the deeply queer, homoerotic and BDSM elements in the story. Barker himself has said "I was validating a lifestyle. It was a celebration of the beauty of these strange secret rituals," and deliberately used gender-neutral pronouns for the Cenobites in the book, *and* described Pinhead's voice like this: "Its voice, unlike that of its companion, was light and breathy — the voice of an excited girl."

That's all so rich and interesting, but exactly none of it was in Joe Bob's "Drive-in" show about the film (in 2018!). What we get instead is a goofy, sneering, comic (I use the term loosely) bit about what he thinks are laughable names of gay and BDSM bars he knows. Absolutely nothing about the deep queerness of the film. It was a disappointment (though not a surprise) to see Briggs so stupidly mishandle one of the iconic queer horror films of all time.

If he's changed for the better since then, great for him. But there are very good reasons horror fans look elsewhere.


Apologies to johnofjack for the derail. Tigers Are Not Afraid is an excellent horror flick and everyone should watch it.
posted by mediareport at 10:04 AM on November 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

thanks for this post, I had not heard of this but have now added it to my watch list.

also did not know that about JBB, who has not been on my radar in years. ick.
posted by supermedusa at 10:42 AM on November 5, 2023

I can't bring up that Archive link, but my guess is that the right wing site you're talking about is Rebeller, which managed to infiltrate a lot of horror media a few years ago, before anyone really seemed to grok what exactly they were. From what I can tell, Rebeller was largely rebelled against and doesn't seem to be as much of a thing anymore. Maybe someone else can weigh on it who knows more. But I think pointing to Briggs in specific may be slightly off base.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:50 AM on November 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

It was Taki's Magazine, kittens for breakfast; Wikipedia has a good outline of its ideology. Richard Spencer was an early editor.

Maybe jumping onto Shudder to watch the specific show about this film, directed by a sharp woman, will boost woman directors at Shudder and encourage Joe Bob to not be such an ass in the future. Or maybe avoiding him entirely will tell Shudder to drop his style of nonsense.

Honestly seems like a 50/50 call to me. Take your pick.
posted by mediareport at 11:00 AM on November 5, 2023

I'm not going to address the rant here for a lot of reasons, and I apologize for inadvertently derailing the post by suggesting a show with commentary on how the film was made. To that end there is actually a post at least one ep of TLDI if people want to discuss those issues. In terms of the specific episode for Tigers Are Afraid, the commentary on the TLDI was appreciated by Lopez herself, who thanked him on "X" aka Twitter.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:11 PM on November 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

I can understand that; I'm glad he's doing good work now.
posted by mediareport at 5:06 PM on November 5, 2023

« Older Book: Bunnicula...   |  AEW Collision: November 4, 202... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments