You know I love me some scary as F cult horror! Written and Directed by Sonia Escolano, House of Sweat and Tears is based on an actual cult started by Luz Amparo Cuevas Arteseros in the 90s. Luz claimed to be a seer who believed that the Virgin of Sorrows appeared to her and directed her to create a house of “love and mercy.”
As her community grew so did The Association of Victims of the Appearance of the Virgin, who showed up at Luz’s prayer gatherings and claimed that 26 people who joined the cult had completely vanished — and then rumors of pyschological and physcial torture happening within the walls of her commune started spreading.
Escolando takes these rumors and spins them into a beautifully shot, terrifying slow burn, in which see the inner workings of the cult and Luz’s control over her followers. While her health is frail, Luz easily commands everyone under her influence — instructing them to cut their feet with glass, consume imaginary food and drink, and uh, apparently put on nightmare masks and get into a car that goes …. somewhere? anywhere? nowhere?
As Luz starts to become more and more ill her control slips and a new, kinder prophet emerges to instruct the masses. But how can a group of people that have been manipulated to the point of damage know how to respond to unconditional love?
House asks that question, and delivers a brutal and shocking answer. This atmospheric horror film isn’t filled with blood and gore, but it did produce an uncomfortable feeling of dread as I watched the minutes unspool.
House of Sweat and Tears is well worth your time, and is available to rent now on pretty much EVERY streaming service you can think of.