Hooptober 9.0 – Achoura (2018)

Being Film #18 for Hooptober 2022

Although it’s impossible to separate Achoura, the second full length from Franco-Moroccan filmmaker Talal Selhami (and reportedly the first ever monster movie shot in Morocco) from another very popular horror movie about a bunch of kids who face a nightmarish demon only to have to come together again 25 years later to confront it IT (wink wink) again, there’s something powerful about seeing this story play out from a very different perspective than we’re used to. Embodying Moroccan culture and folklore and taking more of a dark fable approach to its story, it’s a fun if largely unscary film that’s worth your time.

THE QUICK SUMMARY: Four young friends hear stories about the old, decrepit French House, out beyond the cornfields. Stories of an evil that takes children. When they meet Bashira, a young girl seemingly lost in the cornfields who beckons them to the house for help they go, only to come face to face with something horrifying that claims one of them. 25 years later Samir, the young boy lost in that encounter returns, and the group realizes the nightmare is back and needs to be stopped once and for all…

One of the things I really appreciated about Achoura is its utter disregard for how this movie would be constructed in the studio system in the US. We know how that films goes – Achoura takes a very route, being almost completely bloodless and not really violent at all. There are no gross out kills; in fact, barring one death during a confrontation with Ali, one of the young kids who in the present is now a detective trying to solve the mystery of an increasing amount of missing children, and another involving Samir I won’t spoil, there isn’t really any death at all in the movie. No gore, nothing.

What it does have is an interesting mythology for its creature, and in unspooling that mythology through the story of the four people we’re able to live inside the film and the tension that is more the tone Selhami is going for. That also works against the film: it’s an admittedly slight affair, and despite some interesting design of the horrific elements the overabundance of CG deadens the effect a bit (although not so when it’s obvious green screen during some of the calmer moments outside with the kids in the flashback scenes – there’s an innocence to the effects that work well there despite being so obviously fake), and you can see where the things are headed fairly early in the picture.

And yet…I still admire how this film does what it wants to do without catering to a lot of what other productions would do to “spice” things up. Getting a taste of Moroccan horror makes me hope Selhami and others can build upon Achoura and really get a scene going. Let’s keep fingers crossed for more.

achoura 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: