By Emilio PORTES


Horror - Post-Production 2016

While leading the investigation of a massacre at the border of Mexico and US, Agent Emanuel Ritter links this strange case to the coming and rising of ancient demon Belzebuth. In order to stop the trail of upcoming infanticides, Ritter shall have to confront himself before dealing with evil forces.

& Awards

Ventana Sur 2016
    • Year of production
    • 2016
    • Genres
    • Horror, Thriller
    • Countries
    • MEXICO
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 3 - 5 M$
    • Duration
    • 110 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Emilio PORTES
    • Writer(s)
    • Luis Carlos FUENTES, Emilio PORTES
    • Producer(s)
    • Rodrigo HERRANZ FANJUL (Pastorela Peliculas), Emilio PORTES (Pastorela Peliculas)
    • Synopsis
    • Mexico’s North border. Sleepy but happy, a small NEWBORN BABY babbles over white fluffy sheets inside it’s small acrylic crib. Light from the outside pours among another dozen newborns which are taken in turns closer to the glass where their families, both proud and moved, can se them for the first time.
      Visiting time is almost over and with the shift turn we see NURSE MAGDA (young and beautiful but looking a bit depressed) who apologizes to her colleagues since she’s running a bit late. The other NURSES see the last relatives out from the cribs area, where we also see ELENA (50) and her son JONATHAN (4) both pushing BEATRIZ (32) carrying her newborn baby (ISA).
      When everyone has left, MAGDA locks the door and secures it with a chair. She walks to one of the cribs holding a sharp scalpel in her hand, her gaze lost away. From the corner of his eye the last FATHER leaving, manages to see how MAGDA strikes the first blow inside the crib. The FATHER runs back yelling at her, followed by the NURSES and the SECURITY GUARD. Inside the cribs section, MAGDA systematically stabs one by one the NEWBORNS. Completely desperate and shouting their lungs out they all try to make her stop by banging on the door and trying to break the glass, which separates them from the tragedy. Finally, armed with an extinguisher, a SECURITY GUARD manages to breaks the glass, and before MAGDA can be arrested she prefers to slit her throat open.
      Twenty minutes later, DETECTIVE EMMANUEL RITTER (45) arrives at the crime scene but also at his newborn’s crib, now slaughtered. A few feet away, MAGDA’s lifeless body covered by a white sheet, except for her arm, still holding the scalpel. On her arm, some bestial scratches and bites vanish as if by magic.
      Five years later and with no apparent reason SAIR, a common high school student, opens fire against his teachers and fellow students, until he reaches a kindergarten classroom, where he culminates the infants massacre. Before the authorities arrive and with his hands tainted with innocent blood, SAIR puts a bullet inside his own head. A little later and against his will, Detective EMMANUEL RITTER is assigned to the case. His direct superior, CAPTAIN NAJERA, threatens to fire him if he doesn’t find the assassin or a credible scapegoat for the media and public opinion
      Meanwhile, BEATRIZ watches the TV news about the massacre at the school, which is where his nephew JONATHAN and his 5-year-old son, ISA, attend. Lucky for her, that day ISA had a cold, which prevented him of going. BEATRIZ picks the phone and calls her sister, ELENA, and tells her to go to the school right away. JONATHAN is amongst the victims. As soon as BEATRIZ hangs up, ISA appears in the kitchen and tells her he’s just had an awful nightmare.
      During the first investigations RITTER questions ELENA. The shattered mother tells him about and OLD PRIEST with foreign accent that ran into her to warn her about three child slaughters that would take place in the city. While ELENA helps in the sketching of the mysterious preacher’s identity, U.S.A. AGENT IVAN FRANCO arrives at the school with his team to help with a bilateral investigation, since the Americans fear this could be the beginning of a bigger scale terrorist event in the U.S. RITTER has no option but to up with this and work with the American agency.
      RITTER’s right hand and long time partner, DEMETRIO VEGA, reports that the lab found only traces of marihuana on SAIR´s body, along with several purple beast-like bruises on the teenager’s back, chest and legs.
      As RITTER reluctantly answers to the press, an old Caucasian with a wrinkled face, bald but with a long grey beard is watching him. It is VASILIO CANETTI. As the Press conference finishes, late at night and on his way home, RITTER stops to buy a bottle of vodka and to pick up a PROSTITUTE. His apartment is a mess; there are only memories and old clothes from his late wife. Meanwhile, with an ultraviolet light test, IVAN’s crew finds something important in SAIR’s blood and brain stained walls.
      The very next morning, a dozen GIRLS and another oxen BOYS between five and seven years old, jump into a pool, disobeying their SWIMMING TEACHER’s orders to stay put. Helped by his ASSISTANT, the SWIMMING TEACHER finally manages to organize a competition in the middle of happy and laughing children. Above at the VISITORS SECTION, the children MOTHERS observe the dynamics, chat with each other or rad magazines.
      Inside the dressing room, EVA the janitor, leaves her mop and bucket to take two power-cables, long and heavy as boas, ending in copper alligator clips.
      As the SWIMMING TEACHER blows his whistle to start the race, EVA hooks one end of each cable to the power box. BOYS and GIRLS cheer their lungs out for their class mates as EVA walks strongly grasping the clips and dragging the cables behind her, her gaze into the void, from the dressing rooms towards the pool.
      The ASSISTANT sees EVA realizing what she is about to do and as he tries to stop her, she just touches him with the copper alligators and takes him down, electrocuted. Everyone panics and shouts, while trying to swim out for their lives, as EVA approaches the pool. MOTHERS run downstairs to save their kids. EVA reaches the pool’s edge where the SWIMMING TEACHER has almost taken all kids out, but not all of them. EVA jumps into the pool.
      IVAN, RITTER and their crews arrive at the new crime scene to start with their forensic investigations. RITTER agrees to IVAN’s absurd request of draining the pool. As they inspect EVA’s body, they realize she has the same bruises and scratches found in SAIR’s body. IVAN tells RITTER that five years ago, his new-born’s killer presented the same wounds. He is sure there the three infanticides are connected.
      One of the mothers in the pool recognizes the man from the sketch and confirms he is a priest. IVAN complements the report: it’s FATHER VASILIO CANNETTI. A Jesuit, expert in demonology, excommunicated for satanic practices and unauthorized exorcisms, some years ago, and who was able to come to Mexico and form his own cult. Despite this, the Vatican remains completely hermetic regarding this case.
      As they drain the pool, IVAN takes RITTER back to the school, where they turn off the lights and pointing ultraviolet lamps where SAIR took his life, they discover hundreds of new-born handprints surrounding beast-like claw scratching going all the way up to the ceiling. IVAN confirms these same markings were found at the crib area five years ago.
      DEMETRIO suggests that this could be part of a satanic cult and urges the crew to consult LEONOR, a psychic that had previously work with the police department. When LEONOR tries to read the tarot cards for RITTER a low intensity poltergeist manifests in the room. Without further explanations LEONOR closes the session and throws the policemen out of her place. That night RITTER and his friends can’t manage to sleep.
      The next morning, the OLD PRIEST from the pencil sketch kidnaps BEATRIZ and ISA before they can go into a movie theatre. An hour later a SUICIDE BOMBER blows up the whole place.
      A few hours later, as they are investigating the theatre’s ruins, one of the survivors gives them the address of VASILIO CANETTI’s possible church site: A ghost town abandoned due to the narco war and not too far from the city.
      At the same time, ELENA reports her SISTER and NEPHEW as missing as they planned on going to the movies.
      On their way to the ghost town, as night falls in, RITTER asks IVAN about the end of times and if he really thinks they’re after the ANTICHRIST. IVAN tells him that when someone wakes up with that kind of bruises it’s usually a sign that he has fought an unconscious battle with a Demon.
      In town, the church looks pretty much abandoned. Inside, the benches are pilled against each other. Below their feet a huge circle with a star resembling the roman VI´s found on the stains of blood. According to IVAN, a circle of protection where demonic rituals had surely been performed. In front of them, a gigantic CHRIST sculpted in wood with human hair hides below a white sheet where laughter is clearly heard. As they unveil the CHRIST, the demon BELZEBUTH comes to life, animating the wooden sculpture that remains nailed to the cross.
      The demon BELZEBUTH bargains with RITTER, promising not to return for another thousand years if agrees to kills young ISA. RITTER doesn’t bargain and demands the demon to stop the child slaughters. Behind the BELZEBUTH, RITTER´s wife walks out of the shadows and carrying their son. RITTER steps out of the circle as the demon offers to return his dead wife and son if he kills ISA. IVAN tries to dissuade RITTER telling him it’s a devil’s trick and asking him to return into the protective circle. Before RITTER can hold his family, IVAN shoots the demon between the eyes, returning it to it’s original wooden CHRIST unanimated state.
      Down on his knees RITTER cries in full despair. As IVAN tries to comfort him, and grabs him by the shoulder, RITTER starts to punch him as if possessed by a supernatural force. IVAN is inches away from recovering his gun when RITTER increases his grip around his neck to strangle him. IVAN ceases to breath. Suddenly VASILIO CANETTI appears firing a teaser gun and puts RITTER down to sleep.
      RITTER wakes up chained to a bed inside a bunker. He immediately asks for his new friend’s corpse. VASILIO gives him a cup of coffee as he reassures him that the ENEMY tempts the men with strong souls and destroys those with a weak one. CANETTI considers a miracle they are both alive.
      He then shows RITTER through his CCTV system that not only IVAN, but also ISA and BEATRIZ are alive and safe, playing in a more comfortable cell. RITTER does not understand all the trouble to kill a small child. The demon wants to put down ISA because he is the new incarnation of JESUS CHRIST, who has come back to earth to complete the work he started two thousand years ago. Along with him, the reincarnations of JOHN THE BAPTIST AND SAINT PAUL, who had already perished in the slaughters that took place on the school and on the hospital. VASILIO’s plan is to take ISA to a monastery on the American side where he will remain safe until he develops his full potential, spiritually and physically speaking.
      Meanwhile in the city, and as CAPTAIN NAJERA is about to present a narco band a responsible for the killings, RITTER calls him and asks to mention BEATRIZ and ISA among the deceased in order to stop the massive killings.
      NAJERA agrees, which buys some time and advantage so VASILIO, RITTER and IVAN can drive the child to the secret monastery. As the sun begins to set, the vans hurry through the desert towards the US-Mexico border.
      Later on, VASILIO tells RITTER how the Vatican receives hundreds of cases of demonic possession each year, but in 2012 these multiplied considerably, worrying the HOLY FATHER, who asked for an investigation. In his quest for a logical explanation, VASILIO had to sell his soul to the ENEMY in order to know the SAVIOUR’s birthplace. While this happens, the demon BELZEBUTH possesses RITTER making him lose control of the van and crashing it dramatically.
      With everyone unconscious, and completely possessed, RITTER attempts to kill ISA who runs into the desert along with his mother. RITTER finally reaches the kid, raises his gun while ISA closes his eyes. RITTER pulls the trigger only to shoot IVAN who jumps in between to cover ISA. For a moment, RITTER comes back to normality to realize what he’s done. BEATRIZ sees the opportunity and strikes him in the head with a rock. Filled with fury BEATRIZ goes for the kill, until VASILIO claims for the police life, saying she could release the demon.
      In the monastery, at the EXORCISM CHAMBER (a vault filled with thousands of crucifixes from all times), VASILIO and a group of monks practice a hard exorcism to expel the demon out RITTER’s body. After a fierce demonic fight FATHER VASILIO CANNETI dies but only after concealing the demon inside a ROCK CHRIST.
      Weeks later and as RITTER is recovering, the MONKS tell him all about IVAN and FATHER CANETTI’s deaths. However they also reassure him that when someone survives such a demonic attack will be immune to further possessions. The MONKS make him the chosen one to project and teach ISA until his great moment.
      RITTER and the MONKS blow up the convent in order to bury the ROCK CHRIST where BELZEBUTH will be trapped until the end of times. RITTER and ISA drives away now completely baldheaded and heavily armed, as the black smoke column coming out from the monastery draws a demonic face. As RITTER drives into the sunset, ISA smiles.
    • Partners & financing
      Private equity partners
    • Beginning of shooting
    • May 16, 2015
    • End of shooting
    • Jul 20, 2015
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