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The Similars (The 2016 SciFi Film Festival)

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First thing’s first: the less that you know about this film going in the better. The Similars is a pastiche of existing horror and sci-fi ideas, yet it somehow manages to feel original. Mexican director, Isaac Ezban, takes strong cues from The Twilight Zone, Hitchcock, Stephen King, and other classic sci-fi and horror, and the film ends up a campy, oddball homage to those works. Lovers of old school sci-fi, horror, and all things weird are in for a treat.

The Similars is essentially a maniac’s extended episode of The Twilight Zone. It is a dark and rainy night in 1968 at a bus station on the outskirts of Mexico City. Martin (Fernando Becerril) is the elderly station manager, while Ulises (Gustavo Sanchez Parra) – an anxious man trying to get to the city before his wife gives birth – and a Native American woman (Maria Elena Olivares) are initially the only occupants of the station. It doesn’t take long for the cast to fill out, however, with your staple gallery of oddball characters falling into place: the hippie, the creepy kid, and his doting mother, to name a few. When they discover that they’re supernaturally trapped in the station and people start having seizures, insanity ensues.

Isaac Ezban does a great job of creating a sense of mystery with these characters and the stranger and stranger events which follow. The Similars certainly takes a while to get going, but when it does, the craziness really ramps up, and you’ll find yourself laughing at the film’s campy horror moments. The sense of drama and insanity is further intensified through dramatic close ups and unconventional camera angles, with moments of revelation and horror punctuated by pounding, orchestral notes à la Hitchcock. There are a few classic scenes that are just so bizarre and inventive that you won’t forget them anytime soon. The film climaxes too quickly, and there are moments bordering on overkill, but fans of outré cinema will love this tripped out Mexican homage to old school genre filmmaking.

The Similars is screening at The 2016 SciFi Film Festival, which runs from October 19-23 at The Ritz Cinema, Randwick, in Sydney. For more on The Similars and to buy tickets, head to the official site.