“What’s there in the cabin is our primitive side. It’s never going to disappear.”

Marta’s husband

Amat Escalante’s Mexican sci-fi horror is a sexually provocative exploration of the self-destructiveness of relinquishing oneself to desire. Its original title La Región Salvaje is literally “the wild region”, referring to both the physical and the interior. The Untamed features a tentacled alien creature (partially revealed in its opening scene) that serves as a metaphor for unrestrained sexual desire, offering an addictively pleasurable experience marred by the risk of harm. This parallels the human relationships we see, particularly a husband cheating with his wife’s brother fulfilling a hidden urge despite the risk it poses. The sexual acts between humans feel distanced rather than intimate, fuelled more by need than by affection with one partner taking a passive role. These are all interesting concepts to examine but The Untamed discharges most of its ideas in the first 15 minutes and is then content to let the meandering plot unfold without developing its ideas further. A foreboding atmosphere and beautiful portrayal of rural Mexico are sufficient to hold attention but the story fails to engage, its mysteries — like the alien’s origins or the couple who keep it — going unanswered.