‘A Thousand Fangs’, from HBO Max: the supernatural awaits you in the jungle

The first Colombian production for HBO Max has just reached the catalog of the ‘streaming’ service in Spain. And it is surprising that it is a hybrid between horror and action. ‘A Thousand Fangs’, by Guillermo Escalona and Jaime Osorio Márquez, is a journey through two different genres that is intriguing and substantial.

A Thousand Fangs, by Guillermo Escalona and Jaime Osorio Márquez, surprises from its first scenes. The first Colombian production for HBO Max has a special interest in making it clear that it is a journey into the dark. He also achieves this with a series of ingenious devices that make the ambition of the script very clear.

With its wide shots, gaze into the mysterious jungle, and the conclusion that danger lurks (and an unexpected one), the series makes smart decisions. The most obvious is that it refers to several of the great action and horror films of the last decades. 

The other: create a tense environment whose atmosphere becomes more rarefied as you move in a singular direction. This small-scale version of Depredador (1987) by John McTiernan is a conjunction of peculiar ideas.

First of all, he uses the background of the Amazon rainforest as a silent enemy. One that also has its own rules and becomes more hostile as the group of soldiers who enter it advance. Second, the plot's ability to mistake the inevitable social and local background for something larger.

If something surprises in A Thousand Fangs it is the decision to thread several conflicts at once and assume the specific product substrate. This is a Colombian story, told by Colombians. But it is also a transition to something darker that manifests itself with disconcerting speed. The script written with four hands by the duo of directors is direct and precise. But not for that, less dense. This march towards death, full of a strange ritual beauty, it is also a myth within a myth. A poisonous mystery that spreads its filaments in all directions from an apparently vulgar fact.
For the plot it is essential to make it clear that what will be narrated on screen is frantic and harsh. That will cause startles and will appeal to the primitive fear of the unknown. But at the same time, it is a story about the human condition. Between both and with a deep root in productions that mix terror and action, A Thousand Fangsis a dialogue with fear. A smart one, well built and with enough edges to become more interesting at times. 

Monsters and unthinkable secrets lurk in the jungle 

It is a success that A Thousand Fangs use the Colombian context to show what a foray into full-blown supernatural fear will be next. The series begins by establishing the usual parameters of a story in the style. A group of soldiers must fulfill an apparently routine mission and for that they must face the Amazon. 

The script makes the curious decision to turn the jungle into an enemy to be reckoned with. One that also has secrets to keep and some of them dangerous and unpredictable. From its first sequences, A Thousand Fangs take the threat of the unknown as an eventuality. Also as a detailed journey through a stratum that will put the characters to the test. The jungle is not only a place, it is a cannibalistic and devastating presence that waits, that feeds on fear and crushes the will. 

But with an obvious tribute to Aliens (1986) by James Cameron, A Thousand Fangsalso raise peculiar questions. As the camera closely follows its characters and shows its weakness under the apparent strength, it does something else as well. It marks the way forward, insists on the conception that the darkness of the jungle (that silent enigma) is worse than any worldly risk. And when the threat finally appears (in one of the best sequences of the series), it does so with chilling brutality.

A Thousand Fangs you are aware that the formula you use it has been covered over and over again. But that does not prevent him from finding original points to narrate the unforeseen attack of the supernatural. What awaits in the jungle is not just a monster. He also has skill, agility and is willing to fight. Once the center of his dilemma has been revealed, the series then moves into darkness. What is waiting among the trees with an inhuman appetite? 

‘Mil colmillos’ y lo aterrador 

A Thousand Fangs in addition, it narrates in parallel the historical context of what happens. But the trip to the past only accentuates the idea that what happens in the future is inevitable. But instead of using Manichaeisms or simple formulas to define his heroes and villains, he actually poses the question from the imminent. All characters must fight to survive. They will all do it with the weapons at their disposal. And those won't always be ethical, correct, or morally understandable. 

HBO Max's Colombian series is a roadmap to the supernatural from a modern point of view. At its highest points, the introspection that the script provides its characters advances in every sense and level. In the lows, it is a bit confusing amid the brutal attacks they will have to face. But between the two, A Thousand Fangs He has the audacity and the instinct to know his limits and exalt his strengths. 

With its profane air, slightly gloomy but undoubtedly powerful A Thousand Fangs it is a proposal of consistent quality. A version of fear that uses its surroundings to nourish itself but at the same time, it does not forget where it comes from. Perhaps the brightest moments of his proposal.

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