McAllen native Ariana Guerra, who stars in a new horror movie produced by the same group that made the box office hits “Paranormal Activity” and “Get Out,” will be at a free screening of her film at Cinemark Hollywood in McAllen on Tuesday.
Guerra plays Diana, the lead role in “Madres,” which is one of the latest installments of the Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology film series from Blumhouse Productions.
According to the film’s official synopsis, “Madres” is a tale set in the 1970s and follows a young Mexican-American couple, Beto and Diana, who are expecting their first child.
They move to a small town in California where Beto is expected to manage a farm as part of his new job. Diana, however, begins to have nightmares and discovers a curse in town that targets expectant mothers. She must now find a way to stop it before it hurts her and her unborn child.
The film tackles themes of survival, motherhood, isolation and what it means to be a second generation Mexican-American.
“We do try to address a range of things that a lot of Latinos can resonate with, but to me, the most nuanced component had to be this spectrum that exists between the two protagonists,” Guerra said.
Diana’s character is a Chicana from Los Angeles who doesn’t speak any Spanish. Her husband Beto, however, grew up in Mexico only speaking the language and working on farms.
Guerra said it will be interesting to see where viewers will fall on the array between Spanish-speaking Hispanics and those who don’t, especially those from the Rio Grande Valley since the community has diverse experiences despite having a Hispanic majority.
Being second generation Mexican-American isn’t a topic normally discussed in the media, she said, and the film aims to tackle the subject of being born between two different cultures and the challenges it comes with.
Still, “Madres” doesn’t aim to distinguish right from wrong, but to display how different these experiences can be.
“For Chicanos, where we have to walk this fine line of assimilation and cultural preservation, I think the film does a great job of showcasing that with Diana’s character,” Guerra said.
“Madres” also depicts the hardships of being an undocumented Mexican farm worker, which Guerra believes many in the Valley can relate. Her own grandparents were undocumented farm workers and her parents were migrant workers.
The movie also touches on motherhood struggles — the feeling of inadequacy some soon-to-be mothers carry, the weight they bear on their shoulders and the mental and physical challenges they have to face during pregnancy.
The film provides a multi-layered experience — so much so, that when Guerra’s mother saw the film, she had a different take away than Guerra.
After reading the script, Guerra emailed her rep expressing her desire to be cast in the film, which she described as the Mexican “Get Out.”
Guerra wants to use the screening of her latest movie as an opportunity to not only show Valley residents that there’s representation for Mexican-Americans in film, but to also, and perhaps more importantly, inspire others to pursue their goals whether it be in acting, film or the arts.
She wants the Valley to know it’s possible to fulfill goals with tenacity because she knows there’s an abundance of talented artists here despite a lack of avenues or safety nets needed to pursue such careers.
The free screening will start at 6:45 p.m. and will be followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew.
Seating is based on a first come, first serve basis so attendees might want to arrive early, and a mask is required to enter the theater.
There will be about 270 seats available.
“Madres” will also premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Oct. 8.
‘Madres’ special screening & Q&A
>> 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5
>> Cinemark Hollywood USA, 100 W. Nolana Ave. in McAllen
>> Q&A to directly follow the screening with director Ryan Zarazoga, co-writer Marcella Ochoa and star Ariana Guerra