La Quinceañera features fifteen-year-old Alejandra Santos, whose life is about to change forever on the night of her quinceañera. In this daring revenge tale, a young girl will learn the limits of resilience and strength as she is thrust into the most extraordinary of situations over the course of 24 hours.

I had no idea what I was in for as I sat in the Frida Cinema last Friday night for the opening of the 2018 edition of the Horrible Imaginings Film FestivalWhen director Gigi Saul Guerrero stood on stage and introduced her latest project as a Mexican Kill BillI sat up just a little straighter. She wasn’t kidding.

Originally conceived and shot as a seven episode series, La Quinceañera has been stitched together to make a feature length film. Bloody, brutal, and just plain wild. Whether you sat down to watch it as a series or feature would make little difference because at the end of each episode you just have to know what happens next.

Written by novelist and comic book writer Shane McKenzieSaul Guerrero’s frequent collaborator, La Quinceañera unravels a tale of drug cartel and the town it has taken control of. One of these town folks forced into providing the cartel with storage space is restaurateur Reynaldo Santos (Mauricio Mendoza). Reynaldo agrees at the insistence of his brother to allow the cartel usage of a shipping container on the restaurant’s property.

On the day of Reynaldo’s daughter Alejandra’s (Mia Xitlali) quinceañera, Santiago (Gustavo Gomez) takes his cousin along to break into and check out want might be inside. But when they discover all the guns, drugs, cash, and corpses inside, Santiago knows they need to get away. He cousin, however, isn’t leaving empty handed setting off a series of events that will force a young girl to grow up just that much faster.

There is nothing earth shattering new in La Quinceañera, but what is here is just so well done and so much fun. Saul Guerrero and McKenzie make a great team and they don’t hold back. The film goes to some dark corners and simply grins with evil delight as it does.

Xitlati does a fantastic job of playing the girl who didn’t even want a quinceañera and is now suddenly faced with the deaths of her family members all around her. She transitions from innocent child to frightened victims to resolute heroine. Likewise, Gomez transitions the opposite way from being the obnoxious self-assured big brother to a sniveling guilt-ridden child. The guilt of having caused the entire mess combined with the fact the no one knows a showcased across his face and throughout his body language.  All the performances in the film were outstanding, especially from Mathias Retamal as the psychotic Chavo del Rio and Gabriela Reynoso as the resourceful and skilled Abuela.

I had such a good time with this film. It was wildly entertaining from start to finish. I just can’t wait to see what happens in season 2. Saul Guerrero told the audience on Friday night that series is currently tied up with Warner Bros and at this time the series doesn’t yet have an announced release date or platform. A fact she had to continuously remind the audience of as she was peppered with season 2 questions. Without a season 1 release there can be no season 2.

If you would like to see this film/series, it’s highly recommend that you contact Warner Bros and let them know you want to see this released.

Runtime: 1 hrs. 20 Mins.
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