Updated: Jan 16, 2019
As of 2018, there has been an estimated 37,000 people who have been reported missing in Mexico. Many of these people have been “disappeared,” their bodies destroyed in acid and their DNA unrecognizable. Four young filmmakers and student activists, Javier Salomón, Aceves Gastélum, Marco Francisco García Ávalos and Jesús Daniel Díaz García -Tonalá, went missing last year. Diablero, which translates to “demon-hunter," takes the present tragedy of missing people in Mexico and turns it into a story of good versus evil, or rather, angels versus demons. The show is adapted from the book, El Diablo Me Obliga by Francisco Gerardo Hagenbeck. The main character, Elvis, is a demon-hunter on a quest to find his missing daughter Mariana. He is accompanied by a priest named Ramiro who, shocking, was not always a priest. With the help of Elvis’s bruja (and budding DIABLERA) sister Keta and a scrupulous demon vessel Nancy, they come together to find Mariana and stop the impending doom looming over Mexico City.
The best part of the show by far is Gisselle Kuri’s portrayal of Nancy. Through drawing her own blood, Nancy can call upon demons to enter her body and subsequently controls their presence. Nancy’s character is the most traumatized character on the show, as her father was abusive and her mother abandoned her after seeing her be possessed by a demon for the first time. Her backstory is interesting and strangely relatable, and her acting is compelling. Nancy is always sacrificing her body to help others. Despite her tough, punk aesthetic, she is the bravest and purest character on the show.
I also love how the show is deeply based in indigenous religion, rather than the traditional Catholicism brought to Mexico by the Spanish. Instead of being in Spanish, many of their incantations come from both Latin and Náhuatl, rejecting a colonized view of magical origins.
The downside of Diablero is that the story line really drags at the end. There is one strong story line throughout the series, with some character development along the way, but that one story line doesn’t carry the show to the finish. I found it more compelling to see Keta struggle with her gender and being raised as a bruja rather than a diablero, than to watch the team on their quest to defeat villians.
We only rate Diablero 6 out of 10 because we hope to see more character and storyline development next season. And -- MORE NANCY PLEASE!
Season one rating: 6/10