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Thursday 01 of December 2022

'Los Parecidos': Twilight Zone, Mexico Style

Rain,photo: Pexels
Rain,photo: Pexels
The movie is clearly self-aware of its influences and never gets overly serious


“Los Parecidos” (The Similars) is the second feature film made by Mexican director Isaac Ezban. His previous offering, “El incidente” (The Incident), was a science fiction-influenced movie about people stuck in never-ending reality loops. It was well received by critics and audiences alike, although it failed to make an impressive amount at the box-office.

“Los Parecidos” starts on a rainy night and the whole movie takes place on a single set: a bus station in the middle of nowhere. The date is Oct. 1, 1968, one day before the student demonstrations in Mexico City that ended in a bloodbath caused by the Mexican government. A narrator introduces us to a few of the characters, in the best style of the old Twilight Zone episodes. We meet Martín (Fernando Becerril), the bus ticket seller, who is about to retire. Waiting for a bus that is hours late because of the rain is Ulises (Gustavo Sánchez Parra), who is desperate to get to Mexico City in order to witness the birth of his son.

Things get interesting with the sudden arrival of Irene (Cassandra Ciangherotti), a pregnant woman who arrives at the station soaking wet and borderline hysterical. Apparently she escaped from an abusive boyfriend who may be chasing her.

The movie wear its influences on its sleeve: even the opening credits are done in a style reminiscent of old, black-and-white B-movies. Weird things start to happen with the arrival at the station of a nearly-incoherent boy and his dominant mother. People start resembling Ulises, down to his inconspicuous beard. Yes, even the women. They become “similars.”

Although the movie is clearly self-aware of its influences and never gets overly serious, always acknowledging the absurdness of the situation, it also never feels like all of the dissimilar elements finally coalesce into a satisfying whole.

The movie would have worked better as an hour-long episode in a series, probably. Nonetheless, it is an interesting exercise that separates itself from the common themes of Mexican cinema, and one can always find some enjoyment in that.