'Madres' merges the supernatural with relevant social issues in one chilling tale of horror and drama. Here is the truth behind the curse that causes infertility
Ryan Zaragoza's horror film 'Madres' tells us that we should fear humans more than ghosts. The true evil lies in the hands of vicious, living people, who are more than capable of doing unfathomable heinous acts for the sick of some twisted ideology.
The film follows a Mexican-American couple who moves to a migrant farming community in 1970s California. The pregnant wife gets haunted by a ghost and learns about a mystery that causes the woman to become infertile. Soon, she uncovers a much more sinister truth. Here is everything that happened in 'Madres.'
Diana (Ariana Guera) and her husband Roberto “Beto” (Tenoch Huerta) moves from LA to Golden Valley, California, a Spanish-speaking town. Diana is pregnant and was hesitant to move to the local village at first. However, her husband has been promoted to manager and must transfer there to do his job. Her husband, a Mexican-born farmer, assures her that she will be comfortable in the farming community.
Beto's boss Mr.Quill arranges for their accommodation, and the couple moves into an old house. Soon, Diana starts hearing weird noises in the house. She finds some old items that belonged to Teresa Flores, the previous owner of the property.
Diana also finds some leaflets that inform the harmful effects of pesticides that kill farmers on the farm. She then sees a severed eye hanging from a tree in the garden and freaks out.
Curious about Teresa, Diana talks to the Spanish-speaking community to learn more about her. But instead of getting answers, she discovered that every woman in town had not given birth except one.
The woman tells them about a legendary curse that kills infants in the womb, causing infertility in the town. Diana believes that infertility is not caused by some supernatural force but by harmful pesticides instead.
While Diana continues to investigate, she gets haunted by the ghost of Teresa, who tries to tell her the truth.
Diana discovers Teresa's notes and diary and finds out about a valley fever that strikes the farmworkers. However, only women got sick. Diana goes to the County Clerk’s office and learns that the birth rate in the town is getting lower and lower. Infertility seems to be affecting Hispanic women only.
Diana learns that another City, Arbington, was once affected by the same problem. However, they managed to recover after a while. She assumes that the city might have found the cure for infertility. So, she plans to visit the clinic the next day to know more.
But during that night, Diana starts bleeding and gets admitted to the Northwest Maternity Clinic. Unable to continue her investigation, Diana sends her husband to visit Arbington Medical Clinic to know the truth.
At the clinic, Dr. Nelson tells Beto that he doesn't know anything. His predecessor left no records of previous patients. He gives Beto the contact number of the doctor so he can reach out to him directly. Beto discovered that the former doctor is no other than Dr. Whelton Bell, who is now in charge at the Northwest Maternity Clinic where Diana is recuperating.
Whelton is also looking after Diana in the hospital, and that is how the puzzle pieces came into place.
Diana discovers records of patients in Whelton’s office. The reports revealed that Whelton and his nurse, Carol, were sterilizing Hispanic women without telling them.
They schemingly ask women to sign a consent form without explaining what they were about to take. The evil duo then sterilized them and killed their infants. These unethical actions resulted in a lower birth rate in Golden Valley.
At first, Diana thought that the ghost of Teresa was trying to hurt her. However, Teresa only wanted to protect Diana and her baby from the evil doctor.
Teresa contacts Diana using a Lullaby from a toy Diana found in the shed. The ghosts' lips are sealed for an unknown reason, so she uses the Lullaby to communicate with Diana. While Diana is at the Clerk's office, Teresa leads her to her death records to help Diana understand what is truly going on.
Later in the film, we learn that Anita was the one who called Teresa's ghost to help protect Diana and her baby. Anita was also the person who hanged the severed eyes to guard Diana against the curse. She had no idea that it was not a curse that causes infertility but a monstrous, living, doctor.
After Diana discovers Dr. Whelton Bell’s secret, he tries to kill her on the operation table. Fortunately, Beto arrives just in time and stabs the doctor. The couple hurriedly tries to get out of the hospital, but Beto’s racist boss, Tomas “Thomas,” appears and shoots Beto.
Tomas explained that it was not the pesticides nor the curse that made the pregnant women ill. He gave the pregnant Hispanic women a poisonous drink called Agua Fresca. Tomas poisoned them to force them to come back to Dr. Whelton, who would then kill their babies and sterilize them without their knowledge and consent.
The root of their evil deeds is racism. They do not want immigrants to continue thriving in their "white country," so they cunningly sterilized them.
While in great danger, Diana hummed the Lullaby to summon Teresa's ghost. Teresa appears, and the two work together to kill Tomas.
The film ends on a happy note. Beto survives, and Diana eventually gives birth to a healthy baby boy. They named him Jose. Diana also finishes her book.
However, there are still dangers lurking around. Whelton's loyal nurse, Carol, transfers to St. Agatha Maternity Clinic, where he continues his horrible act of sterilizing immigrant women without their consent.
No matter how awful it seems, the movie was inspired by actual events. The end credits revealed staggering statistics, 64,000 men and women have got forcibly sterilized in the United States as a part of the National Eugenics Movement.
They restricted reproductive rights from people they considered "undeserving," to forward their racist agenda.
The victims are mostly African and Mexican men and women.
The heinous sterilization practice happened again at the ICE Detention Center in Georgia, where a doctor secretly removed reproductive organs from immigrant women's bodies without their knowledge and consent. Unlike 'Madres,' these real-life victims were never given the justice and happy ending they deserved.
'Madres' is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Written by Mario Miscione and Marcella Ochoa, the film is under the Welcome to the Blumhouse series.