Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Longtime Robo Mango Readers (shout outs and much love to you good folks) will know that I am huge fan of Trinidadian folklore and I have previously described it is a treasure trove of content waiting to be mined for film and television. I was therefore very pleased to see the folklore element in the teaser for historical romance Maria.
The teaser, directed by Annisia Cadogan and co-written by her and Michelle Ramdewar Mohammed, stars Zayna Marie McDonald as the titular Maria. We are introduced to her in 1998 as a ghostly spectre dressed in all white who gives a family driving in a car quite a fright (hey, that rhymes). This opening alone had already sold me on the film because it is very well shot, quite creepy and packs quite a punch in just a few seconds.
We then flashback to 1909 when Maria was in the land of the living and very much in love with Prem (Qadir Mohammed). But their romance is on tenuous ground as Prem’s mother Rita (Ramdewar Mohammed) works as a maid to Maria’s wealthy father Mr. Gomez (Allan Ferreira). And old Papa Gomez is none too pleased that his daughter is dating the son of the help.
The acting from the cast is pretty solid, and I do get some decent chemistry from McDonald and Mohammed. McDonald’s ethereal features also helps to make ghost Maria even more unnerving. Ramdewar Mohammed delivers as well as the distraught mother, though she could have used some more makeup to age her up. Ferreira, on the other hand, looks the part and was menacing enough, though his dialogue sounded more 21st century than early 20th century.
On the audio side, the Indo-Trinidadian music sounds great, but it did not mesh all that well with the horror-inspired opening and is a bit loud in a couple places. No complaints with the locations and costuming, though, as both were quite apt for the time period and story. The Maria teaser is quite brief, but it does hook the audience with its star-crossed romance, unique historical setting and the mystery of a supernatural urban legend. What happened to Maria and why is she now haunting the highways of South Trinidad? I must know. Like me, you will have to wait until we get the full feature version.
Editor Jules’ Score: 8 out of 10
But you do not have to wait to check out the teaser as it is available on Instagram by clicking here. While you’re there give them a like, a comment, a follow and/or a share. Every bit helps in getting the full film made. And you can check out more Caribbean folklore content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an award-winning writer. I say things like “13 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.