I tend to like Robert Rodriguez more than not. That being said, when it was announced not too long ago that a movie he wrote called "Curandero: Dawn of the Demon" was going straight to video, I was surprised it didn't even get a small theatrical release. As it turns out, it was made in 2005 and was produced by the Weinstein brothers, but they forgot about it for some reason and after they ran into financial troubles it sat on the shelf unnoticed. That is, until now, as Lionsgate has picked it up.
Carlos (Carlos Gallardo) is the son of a spiritual healer who passed away, and after his dad died his faith did too. When he meets investigator Magdalena (Gizeht Galatea), who is investigating a series of murders that seem to be connected to a Satanic cult/drug cartel, he begins seeing visions of demonic entities and gory murders. As it turns out, he is a "Curandero", or somebody who can see demons and cleanse souls, and in the process it seems that Magdalena is unwillingly a part of this.
On paper, "Curandero" should work better than it does. The acting is pretty strong, the gore is pretty impressive and mostly lite on CG, and the characters are mostly interesting. However, where it falters is the direction and editing department. Director Eduardo Rodriguez (which as far as I can tell is not related to Robert) loves himself some quick cuts, as the film uses way too much hyper editing for Carlos' visions than it probably needs. The whole thing is filmed in a rather ugly manner as well. It all looks pretty washed out and ugly, with bland colors and a weak photo contrast that looks hideous. Also, the reason for the demonic outbreak can be seen the moment Carlos starts seeing images. The fact that there isn't any real ambiguity to the story hurts the film, as it doesn't offer a whole lot as far as surprises.
As a whole, i can definitely recommend "Curandero as a rental, but I can't see any reason for own it. It's not the worst thing Rodriguez is responsible for, but I still can't help but feel a little disappointed with the end result.