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[FrightFest Halloween] FILM REVIEW: Maria

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Maria - FrightFest Halloween UK Premiere


Director: Gabriel Grieco, Nicanor Loretti

Starring: Malena Sánchez, Sofía Gala Castiglione, Daria Panchenko


Written by: Nicanor Loretti

Produced by: Gabriel Grieco

Cinematography by: Mariano Suárez


Synopsis:

Maria Black, the World's biggest porn star returns to the industry after being in a coma and on the set of her comeback movie all hell breaks loose.

Thoughts:

'Maria' is one of those films that is best enjoyed going in completely blind. Even though I had an inkling where this was going I was not prepared for the absurd blood and gore and the delicious and sudden violence. It's kinda insane.



Daria Panchenko stars as Maria, a fun loving, free spirited erotic film star. One of the most famous adult film stars on the entire planet. Tragedy strikes as Maria and her girlfriend are involved in a car crash that almost kills Maria, leaving her in a coma, with reports that she may never ever walk again. Maria's body suddenly disappears from hospital with her manager asking for prayers from her adoring fans and her girlfriend begging for Maria to make contact.

Time passes and still no word from Maria, then suddenly she resurfaces in the starring role of Dario Georges brand new porn flick. With a small and trusted talented crew coming together for Maria's comeback, this is sure to be a huge hit but during the act Maria's body shakes uncontrollably and she suffers some sort of seizure that kills her. Or so the crew think...


The crew decide to try to dismiss the death and instead bring in a group of masked crazies who want to fuck Maria's corpse, film it and sell it on the black market. What happens next is one of the most incredibly insane (and hilariously entertaining) sequences I've watched in a very long time.



'Maria' won't be for everyone. It's got a few tough scenes and might be emotionally triggering for some people. The film is really all about that crazy sequence of scenes after Maria's "death" when the crew make the disgusting decision not to phone the police but instead try to cash in on Maria's notoriety for their own financial gain. Alina and Mel, two of the female crew, object and are held as prisoners until the cartel arrive to do their business.


It's sort of works as a revenge film but there's also a huge influence taken from the likes of James Cameron's 'The Terminator' and there's definitely a theme of female empowerment going on here. I mean I'm not sure it would be considered a feminist film or not but I was definitely here for the woman kicking the men's ass and I felt myself actually cheering on Maria.

Sofía Gala Castiglione and Malena Sánchez are fantastic as the two woman in a male dominated crew who absolutely do not support the direction the group go in and more importantly who fight back with everything they have when called upon. There's some lovely neon lighting throughout and the production is very slick for the most part.



I'll try not to give too much away but this little film from Argentina is great fun. It does fizzle out a bit after the big scene and the editing is a bit ropey in places. I really could have done without the CGI and explanation at the very end. There's a mid credits scene that expands on something that is teased earlier in the film and I'm not entirely sure it was needed.


Verdict: ⭐️⭐️½


- Gavin Logan


'Maria' received its UK Premiere at FrightFest Halloween on October 27th

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