The Mexican film Hurricane Season is based on a novel of the same name by Spanish author Fernanda Melchor, who meticulously writes a vicious story of rural Mexico in the most colloquial language possible. To translate that into film would’ve been an impossible task, yet here we have it, and it’s pretty good. Hurricane Season begins with some teens finding a dead corpse in the canal near their small village, La Matosa. A little while later, a bunch of women want to take away the body of this dead woman they call the “witch,” even though they have nothing to do with her. At the same time, a young woman named Yesenia tells the police that she was a witness to a murder, and so the story begins.
Yesenia is a young, beautiful woman who is insecure because of the people in her little village and her grandmother. She lives with her grandmother and many cousins, and yet she’s the one who does all the work at home. In typical fashion, the grandmother only likes her grandson, who occasionally stays with them or in a little shed-like place by his mother’s house. Everybody calls Yesenia “lizard” because she doesn’t fit the beauty standards of the community. The only thing she likes about herself is her hair. After a lot of ill-treatment from everyone around her and seeing her cousin Luismi get all the love and appreciation, Yesenia decides to take revenge. There’s a witch who throws lavish, dissolute parties for the young and frivolous boys of the town. Luismi, of course, is one of these boys, which his grandmother doesn’t seem to know of. Yesenia decides to go check for herself at the party. She’s traumatized by the wild sight and rushers to tell her grandmother what she’s seen. Instead of giving her a chance, the grandmother decides to ruin her life completely by cutting the one part of her she loves the most—her hair. A few days later, while drying clothes outside, Yesenia sees Luismi and his friend Brando carry the witch into the car of the “village cripple,” Munra. When Yesenia goes out to the market, she hears that the witch is dead and heads to the police to tell her story.
Munra’s story begins when a pregnant girl named Norma, whom Luismi lives with, starts bleeding. He needs Munra to take her to the hospital because he’s the only person who can drive them. Munra is also Luismi’s mother’s lover. When they return home, leaving Norma in the hospital, Luismi finds some strange things in a hole (remember this for later) in the ground in front of their house. He thinks the witch has done some magic on Norma, which is why she’s lost her baby. Luismi burns up the contents of the hole before Munra (or we) can see them. Munra is sad and lonely because Chabela, his lover, has been avoiding his calls and has been missing ever since the night Norma lost her baby. A few days later, Munra is taken by the two boys in a rush to the witch’s house. Brando steals his crutches, so he can’t move from the car. Munra has no idea what the boys are doing, but in a little while, they return with the bleeding witch in their hands, placing her in the car. Munra doesn’t want anything to do with whatever wrong the boys have done, but he’s too far in.
Norma’s a 14-year-old who has to get off a bus near La Matosa because she’s run away from home and has no more money. She’s followed by some strange men, but Luismi finds her and offers to help. Naive Norma agrees because she’s much more comfortable with him than the men who are patrolling her at this point. Luismi treats her to some food and takes her to his own home to sleep. After a little while of getting to know each other, they get ready to sleep but end up having intercourse (in the most uncomfortable scene) that Norma initiates. She thinks Luismi might be the right person to help her, but when she wakes up the next day, his mother has realized all her “tricks.” Chabela offers Norma some clothes and notices she’s pregnant. They decide to keep it in the dark from Luismi for now because Chabela knows Norma doesn’t want to keep the kid. Luismi doesn’t like Norma interacting with Chabela or going to her house because he’s worried she’d turn Norma into a prostitute too (it seems that’s the only way to go for women in this village). Maybe Luismi thinks it’s his baby, but Norma decides to keep it after some time living with him. Soon enough, her belly is huge, and Chabela warns her that Luismi is not going to become the caring father he claims he’ll be. She then takes Norma to the witch and asks the witch to get rid of the baby, saying it’s her stepfather’s. The witch, who is worried that she’s too far in, thinks Norma could lose her own life in such a situation. Even though she doesn’t want to put her life in danger, the witch ultimately gives Norma a potion to get rid of the baby. That hole that Luismi had cleaned up had Norma’s dead baby in it after she drank the witch’s drink.
Brando is the extra kid in the story who seemingly comes out of nowhere. He has an overly religious mom and no father figure to keep him in check. Brando uses his spare time to watch porn and spend time with Luismi, who invites him to the witch’s party for the first time. Luismi’s dream is to be a singer, and he shows off his skills at the party. Soon after, though, there are some sexual activities that take place that shock Brando to the core. The witch, according to the whole town, may be transgender, and when Brando sees her with Luismi, he feels repulsed and ends up barfing. He returns and steals some money from a passed-out Luismi. The witch and Luismi have a huge fight because they blame each other for losing the money. On the other hand, Brando gets a brand new pair of sneakers with them, claiming his father, who doesn’t want anything to do with him, got them for him. After all that disgust at the party, Brando ends up sleeping with Luismi because he can’t keep it in his pants any longer. When the townspeople call him queerphobic names later, he gets offended.
Brando tells Luismi that they should go to Cancone, where the “hot ladies” are. Luismi takes it as a joke and talks about how they have no money. Brando thinks the witch is loaded, so Luismi can apologize and take some from her. The kid has too much of an ego, though, and refuses to reconcile with her by himself. Luismi changes his mind when he sees Norma’s baby’s remains in the hole and returns to Brando, telling him they should move on with their plan immediately. They go to the witch’s home, which really is a dilapidated old building. They think she’s hidden some money somewhere, and Brando searches the place while Luismi confronts her. The witch holds Luismi against the wall to calm him down, telling him that she’s the poorest person in the village, but Brando, who has stolen Munra’s crutches, uses one to attack her. He hits her hard multiple times, so she’s completely unconscious and bleeding from the head. This is when they take her into the car, near the canal.
What Happens To Brando And Luismi?
Brando gives Luismi his knife and tells him to kill the witch, so she doesn’t have to suffer any longer. Holding Luismi’s hand, Brando stabs her in the neck painstakingly slowly, with Luismi sobbing miserably. Brando returns home and sees his photo, amidst all the religious symbolism (as his mother keeps them). He realizes he’s committed a huge sin and cries, washing himself up. Brando’s big plan is to go live with his father for some time, somehow thinking it’ll save him from the police. While he waits for his father to get him, Brando gets arrested for the murder of the witch. In prison, he gets called homophobic slurs as well as the killer of a queer member of society (imagine the worst word possible). Luismi and Munra are brought in too, and Luismi’s face is swollen as if he’s been beaten up terribly. When he sees Brando, he embraces him for a long time, no matter what the other prisoners are spewing at them. The film ends with visuals of the burning cane fields around the witch’s home. There’s a voiceover that talks about hope and the light at the end of the tunnel, which everyone should travel to because darkness doesn’t last forever, but it seems in this village, the end is dark just now.
The irony of it all is that Brando ends up becoming everything he doesn’t want to be because of his repressed nature. There’s no reason for him to be angry at the witch for not having money, but he kills her out of sheer rage, coming from everything he’s probably seen since the party. He feels tainted by her dirty mind. In the end, when he hugs Luismi, we don’t feel pity for him, but more disgust for the two boys who ended up killing the one person who was helping the villagers. Maybe Chabela tricked young Norma into going to the witch for help because she wanted the witch to die. On the other hand, she probably doesn’t need another mouth to feed in her own household. We see how the whole film is drowned in gossip, and everything bad occurs because somebody has said something terrible about someone else. At the end of the film, the village seems to blame the “hot hurricane season” for the “madness” in the people who committed horrific crimes. The sweaty nature of the whole film somehow adds further to the disgust we feel for what’s been done to the witch in the end. Gendered violence is a large contributor to crimes in the country, which is what this film poignantly presents to us. Ultimately, we’re left with no expectations or hope for La Matosa.