FANTASIA 2017: Our Very Own Lowlifes Review LOWLIFE, Part 1 – Mondo’s Take

When I first saw the trailer for Lowlife, I was instantly hyped on the outlandish imagery. Seeing a hulking luchador cross cut with gun shots and brutality, it had me liking the flick before I ever saw it. I made sure not to read any press or dive too deep into the synopsis and wanted to just enjoy any surprises Lowlife I had for me. Once the film started, I was sucked in and had a blast with the movie. There were a few segments that felt uneven, but I overall dug what the movie had to offer.

The film revolves around a small cast of characters that are either on the wrong side of the law or being exploited by these shady characters. We meet El Monstruo, a down on his luck luchador, who was once a voice of the downtrodden. Quickly we find that he is now an enforcer for a greedy gringo who is running an illegal organ smuggling operation. We also meet up with a down on her luck motel owner and a couple of old friends trying to right their wrongs and save their own asses. Their stories (eventually) intersect, bringing everyone into the line of fire.

What worked the best in Lowlife was the introduction of the characters. Director Ryan Prows and his writing team paint a vivid picture of everyday life for everyone in the flick. There is a great scene where two old friends are catching up, while trying to ignore a giant tattoo of a swastika on the white guy’s face. This interaction is not only hilarious, but it gives the viewer everything they need to know about these two guys. That is where Lowlife excels, giving you clear understanding of personalities and motives without long scenes of exposition.

Ricardo Zarate plays our reluctant masked hero and shows some great acting chops that are both funny and downright scary. His portrayal of a disgraced luchador feels surreal, but grounded. I was worried that he was only there for cool imagery, but these filmmakers make sure he is never wasted on screen.

The only beef that I had with this movie was the runtime, clocking in at almost 100 minutes. Granted…that is not that long, but I felt like some scenes dragged out in order to pad the runtime. The film would feel tighter and better paced if they would have cut a few minutes out. With 5 or 10 minutes removed, Lowlife would have kept that break-neck speed of the trailer.

Lastly, I think it is important to mention the well managed social issues being addressed. Everyone involved clearly cared and I think this is one of the best depictions of how the lower class are treated in modern America. Ryan Prows shows a world where the poor are forced by circumstance and left with little choice. This clear message makes Lowlife a must see film of 2017 and hope that it reaches a wide audience.

Blaine McLaren
Bald and Beautiful / Exploitation Guru
Blaine McLaren was born in Texas, but has called Atlanta his home for over 20 years. He has spent a lifetime obsessed with cinematic oddities, with a soft spot for rubber monster flicks and gore soaked head scratchers. He is the lead writer and owner of and is a regular contributor for multiple sites and podcasts.
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