Unfortunately I was unable to find any subtitles for this one, so I ended up watching it in a language I don't understand - far from ideal. Before I began, I did try to pick up as much of the storyline as possible from reading other reviews.
When a farmer's son is stillborn he believes a local shaman is responsible, so he kills the man. He fears the shaman's magic so much that after he is buried he digs up the grave in order to drive a silver dagger through his heart. Unfortunately, the shaman comes back to life before he can do so - in a rather hairier form than before. Soon after, some bloody animal-like attacks begin to occur in the village. Though the local priest believes something supernatural is at large, the doctor and the sheriff refuse to accept this, convincing themselves that a bear is responsible (even after they dig up the shaman's grave and find no body, only the farmer's severed head). Fortunately, the priest knows the truth of the matter and has the local welder melt down the communion cup to make some silver bullets ...
"Cazador de Demonios" seems like a good old-fashioned horror movie in the vein of Paul Naschy's best work, complete with dusty atmospheric sets, grisly murders and moments that try and make you jump. There is some light comic relief provided by the local beauty who the boys like to flirt with and spy on in the shower, but even that storyline takes a dark turn by the end. This was the debut film from writer/director Gilberto de Anda, who seems to have gone on to have a prolific career as a director, writer and actor. Strong performances and effective editing keep things ticking along nicely.
There is, of course, a long tradition of Mexican werewolf movies stretching right back to the 1950s. This one seems to mark the end of that tradition, though, as I'm not aware of any that come after - though I could be mistaken. If this is the case, there are certainly much worse ways that the tradition could have ended.
The fact that I enjoyed this movie even though I didn't understand most of the dialogue is a testament to how great the visuals are and how engaging the storyline is. I didn't have too much trouble following what was happening, though I do hope someday I will get to see a subtitled version.
This may or may not be regarded as a werewolf movie. The creature at the centre of the action here is a Nagual, a shape-shifting monster from Mexican folklore. The Nagual can change into many different forms, and in this movie his form is indeed very wolf-like. When the shaman is murdered, the pool of his blood seems to take the shape of a wolf.
Scholars have also suggested that the Nagual is not a native belief but actually a European import, a local Mexican variation on European werewolf legends. There are certainly a lot of similarities, in this movie at least. They can only be killed by silver bullets or fire, and it always seems to be a full moon when they are around.
Considering this movie is post-American Werewolf, the design of the creature is not great. However, it is mostly only shown in the shadows or in brief shots, which is probably for the best.