Every culture, has endured the trials and tribulations of raising a child. Some are receptive to a parent’s guidance, while others become a knee-high menace. In order to strike fear into their hearts and keep them from misbehaving, sometimes they’re told tales oft-repeated over the centuries. Baba Yaga, Sack Man, Madame Koi Koi, and many others have had their stories passed down over the years to keep them in line. Now, with Cynthia Garcia Williamsshort Legend of El Cucuy, we have another boogeyman brought back to life which might help frighten a new generation.

A Creepy Cautionary Tale

The story follows parents Laura (Diana Sanchez) and Carlos (Effie Cacarnakis) and their daughter Isabel (Obriella Genesis Witron). In an effort to be better than their own parents, they allow Isabel to dictate her own life, which has consequences when Isabel gets in trouble at school. Back home, after loudly demanding to eat pizza, her father Carlos expresses concerns that she’s gotten out of control, warning Isabel to beware of El Cucuy.

After putting her to bed, Carlos tells Laura the tragic origins of the legend: Years ago in Mexico, a father lost his wife, and was left raising his two daughters. They also constantly get into trouble, playing with matches and the like. One day, after they destroyed the only photo of his late wife he locks them in their room while he wanders and drinks for hours only to return to find they’ve set the house ablaze. In his grief, he renounces God, blaming Him for his tragedy. As punishment, he’s turned into “something evil, un demonio” who comes in the night and takes bad children. Laura brushes off the tale, but that night she awakes in terror to find out there’s more truth to the fable than she thought.

source: Bluechild Entertainment

Where the horror comes from is primarily in its pacing. We spend enough time with the family to understand the dynamics, and just how insufferable Isabel is — which is a testament to young Obriella’s acting abilities. Once everything’s set, and the legend is told, it allows the final act to hit harder both in scares and special effects.

Legend of El Cucuy brings an old folktale back to life in an effective way. Perhaps this short will be shown to children and future generations as a cautionary tale.

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