Twenty years ago, four friends, Samir (Omar Lotfi), his brother Ali (Younes Bouab), Nadia (Sofia Manousha) and Stephen (Moussa Maaskri) were lured into an abandoned house where they encountered a creature of folklore. Bougatate feeds on children and three of the friends barely escaped with their lives. Samir did not return and after two decades, Ali and Nadia have convinced themselves he was simply abducted, while Stephen still suffers nightmares about the malevolent entity they saw. When Samir suddenly resurfaces, Nadia, Ali and Stephen must confront the truth about Bougatate and find a way to stop the creature from harming anymore children, especially Nadia and Ali’s son Youssef (Mohamed Wahib Abkari).
French/Moroccan horror is well directed by Talal Selhami from a script by he, Jawad Lahlou and David Villemin. The film’s press materials call it a cross between The Babadook and IT and that the film certainly is, story-wise. Selhami still delivers a spooky and atmospheric mash-up and certainly has a strong visual eye, as the film looks impressive and like a horror flick should. He gives the film some tension and quite a few creepy moments and that this supernatural thriller is steeped in Moroccan folklore, makes it a refreshingly new perspective, even if the story evokes things we’ve already seen. The title is derived from The Festival of Achoura, a festival for children, where the film’s malevolent being can have it’s fiendish pick of potential victims. As for the film’s villain itself, Bougatate is an interestingly designed and effective enough specter, that helps add to the elements that make this movie work, despite it familiar story elements. Add to that, is a strong and effective cast, especially our four leads and the kids who play them twenty years earlier.
Supernatural horror is from Dark Star Pictures and is set for premiere on VOD and home media on 12/14/21. If you are interested in horror from other cultures, you might want to give this one a look. Achoura also stars Jade Beloued, Abdellah El Yousfi, Gabriel Fracola and Noé Lahlou as the younger Nadia, Ali, Stephen and Samir respectively, in the spooky IT-esque flashback sequences.