When many people consider the root of all evil, they see a red half-goat-half-man complete with horns, hooves, and a pitchfork. The Devil. El Diablo. Satan. Lucifer. He goes by many names but all can be traced back to Christianity. But evil is not limited within this realm. Virtually all cultures and all religions strike fear in the eyes of their followers with warnings of a lesser god, a dark entity always ready to deliver punishment to wrongdoers. South of Chile, this bringer of rape, murder, and deception is called Wekufe, meaning “demon” or “outside being.”
A broadcast journalism student Paula sets out to the remote island of Patagonia with her boyfriend Matias to report on the possible link between the island’s high sexual-related crime rate and and the legend of the demonic Wekufe, said to be the cause of incest and many unwanted pregnancies. However, Matias has ulterior motives on this little field trip. A former film student, Matias believes that Patagonia could be the perfect place for yet another found footage horror movie. As Paula travels all over the island to interview the natives, she develops a mysterious illness and Matias gets the horrific footage that he always wanted at a grave expense.
Wekufe: The Orgin of Evil is a Chilean film directed by indie director Javier Attridge. While watching this film, the major struggle is trying to stay with the story. A lot of unfamiliar religious and cultural terminology is tossed around throughout the film, making the plot often appear too vague. Adding insult to injury are the poorly constructed English subtitles. Between the fast pace of the dialogue and the spelling and grammatical errors, it becomes difficult to absorb and process the fair warnings of the island natives and make sense of the strange occurrences.
If the film has any impressive qualities, they can be found within the first and final scenes. Within the first scene of the film, the stage is set for a desolate future on the island. The island is riddled with problems of contaminated fish farms, child abuse, and sexual violence, all of which are attributed to the legend of Wekufe. Already, there is a sense of doomsday hopelessness embedded in the story. Whether the island’s socioeconomic travesties are a fault of the local government or something not of this world remains unknown even with the puzzling cultish ending.
What also delivers great promise in Wukefe is it’s ability to be blatantly meta at times, especially in the beginning. The film is a found footage film that shows awareness of— and pokes fun at— classic found footage horror such as The Blair Witch Project. Matias wants to make a quality found footage film, one that audiences could take seriously. It seems that Attridge inserted himself in Wukefe through creating the character Matias. Unfortunately, instead of creating engaging found footage horror, Attridge— like Matias— only beat a dead horse. And buried it.