Image Credit: “Carnal Sins,’ TLA Releasing

According to Argentine folklore, there was once woman who had slept with so many men that she was punished to live for eternity as a fearsome creature that stalks the forest. Now, if you come across her, beware: She may lure you in and you’ll never be seen again!

Known as the “almamula,” the monster represents the temptation of lust and other carnal sins, and was frequently used to scared the youth away from acting on their impure thoughts.

For his feature directorial debut, filmmaker Juan Sebastián Torales brings the childhood legend to the big screen in his dark, dramatic fantasy Carnal Sins (titled Almaluma in his native Argentina).

Our young protagonist is Nino (Nicolás Díaz) a bullied teen who moves with his family to a small, conservative town after being the victim of a number of homophobic attacks. Not long after settling in, he begins hearing whispers of a local boy who had gone missing in the woods—the work of the almamula, others tell Nino.

Image Credit: “Carnal Sins,’ TLA Releasing

Thrust into the new community and the Catholic church at its center, Nino finds himself crushed by the weight of traditions and strict moralizing, all while beginning to see visions of this mythical creature on the edge of town.

But, the more he sees her, and the more he begins to notice the repressed desire of his neighbors, the more Nino starts to think he may be better off just giving in and letting the almamula whisk him away.

Alternately chilling and dreamlike, Carnal Sins builds on these well-known folk tales to tell a story close to home for Torales about growing up queer in a conservative community, and the ways the church would rely on scare tactics in an attempt to “cure” homosexuality.

Speaking with Variety at the Berlin International Film Festival last year, Torales opened up about the themes he set out to explore:

“Like with many things invented by the Catholic church, the almamula was created to erase everything they considered immoral or a menace,” the director shared. “In the end, Almamula doesn’t tell the story of the monster that lives in the forest, but the monster that we, as human beings, created around sexuality, and how all that is different sometimes scares us.”

Díaz has been praised for his harrowing, subtle performance which anchors the film, as has María Soldi playing his young mother Elsa, coping with an existential crisis of her own.

And OMG.Blog made sure to single out the handsome actor Beto Frágola who goes full-frontal in his role, playing a character named Malevo. We’re going to go ahead an assume it’s no coincidence that his name pretty much translates to “malevolence” in English…

Image Credit: “Carnal Sins,’ TLA Releasing

After premiering in Berlin last year, Carnal Sins played a number of LGBTQ+ and international film festivals before receiving a quietVOD release in the U.S. earlier this year.

Carnal Sins is now available for digital rental or purchase via Apple TV, Google Play, and YouTube TV. You can watch the trailer below:

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