Netflix’s Gothic Horror film, The Old Ways, plunges into hidden Mexican lands, searching for a witchcraft story. Mostly a one-location movie, The Old Ways relies heavily on strange folklore symbols, rituals, and demonic horror.
Director Christopher Alender narrates the story of an American reporter of Mexican origin who comes back to her hometown in search of a life-changing news story. Being true to her passion, Cristina Lopez descends into prohibited lands and gets possessed by a demon. What lies ahead is a story of her survival and exorcism.
‘The Old Ways’ Plot Summary
The Old Ways begins with a past incident that happened in Cristina Lopez’s life. During Cristina’s childhood, her late mother was possessed by a demon in her village near Veracruz, Mexico.
Several years later, Cristina returns as an adult to hunt for the local tribes and culture story. Her cousin from the tribe, Miranda Flores, warns Cristina not to explore the ruins of La Boca. Still, a journalist is always curious about prohibited lands.
Cristina is taken hostage by tribal people. A bruja (female practitioner of witchcraft) Luz confirms that a demon possesses Cristina. Bruja’s son, Javi, chains Cristina and feeds her with goat milk, part of an upcoming ritual. But it is just the beginning of her tragedies. The tribal exorcism is not only gruesome but also incredibly painful. The question that hovers constantly is, Will Cristina be able to survive such practices? And is there really any demon inside her body?
Who was Postehki? Why did it possess Cristina?
Cristina’s cousin, Miranda, informed her that she was possessed by a demon who lived in La Boca’s ruins. The demon “Postehki” was the death god of broken things. According to the ancient culture, Postehki feasted upon broken things, broken souls returning to be consumed. After her mother’s death, Cristina grew a seed of sadness inside her that she nurtured over a while. A minute flashback depicted her corporate life in America. Cristina relied on harmful substances to suppress her memories.
But still, something was missing in her pursuit. Something was calling Cristina back to her roots. It was why she requested her senior, Carson, to let her cover the story.
When Miranda told Cristina about the ruins of La Boca, her eyes came to life as if she had finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel. All through these moments, Cristina was unaware that it was Postehki who had been calling her back. Postehki wanted to consume Cristina’s broken soul, but luckily she was found near the ruins before Postehki could consume her.
What was “the broken man”?
Miranda gave Cristina a red book to learn about the demon inside her body. Through the tribal literature, Cristina discovered a ritual called “the broken man.” Bruja could draw Postehki from Cristina’s body to destroy the demon forever.
In a spine-chilling sequence, Bruja cast out the demon and grabbed its heart to eliminate it. However, in the explosion, the Bruja lost her life. Javi, Cristina, and Miranda thought they’d destroyed Postehki. Thus, they paid their last tributes to Bruja while planning for a brighter future. But the demon struck again.
‘The Old Ways’ Ending Explained
The opening sequence established that her mother scratched Cristina’s hand during Cristina’s childhood while the bruja woman was curing her. Later, Cristina inflicted the same scratch on Miranda’s hand that ultimately let Postehki poses Miranda’s body. It could be speculated that other than the “broken souls” philosophy, the demon cursed other human beings through these physical scratches. But Bruja was the last surviving woman who knew the old ways to exorcise the demons and save people from demonic consumption. Was it the end for Miranda?
Miranda believed that Cristina had read and learned enough about Postehki to destroy it without the help of Bruja. She was hesitant until she saw Bruja’s soul, who guided her to ritual items. The signs were enough for Cristina to take charge and face the demons to save her cousin. Cristina transformed into a bruja and prepared for the “the broken man” ritual to end the torment. She successfully drew out Postehki from Miranda’s body and faced it head-on. Gallantly, Cristina pulled out Postehki’s heart and threw it towards Miranda, who stabbed the throbbing heart. The action burnt Postehki leading to a favorable end.
In the end, Cristina didn’t return to Los Angeles and stayed back in her hometown. Her senior, Carson, came to Veracruz looking out for Cristina. The local people took him hostage and suspected him of being possessed by demons. Cristina, in her bruja avatar, inspected Carson’s eyes and discovered a demonic presence. Following the traditions, Cristina commenced the old ways of exorcism.
The Old Ways is a 2021 Drama Horror Film directed by Christopher Alender from a screenplay written by Marcos Gabriel. It is streaming on Netflix.