Don’t ever play with mysterious board games, especially if you find them in the basement of a dead person’s house.
That would seem to be the main lesson of Deseo, Deseo.
The other, secondary lesson would be to be careful what you wish for. You might just get it and all that.
Then again, I guess you could argue that the lesson is less about board games and less about wishes and more about the importance of not spending too much time hanging out with your cousins. Because it really does seem as if a lot of the bad things that happen in Deseo Deseo could have been avoided if the cousins involved hadn’t all been so peculiarly close. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I come from a big Irish/Italian/Spanish family and I love my cousins but even I’m smart enough not to spend every waking moment with them.
(Basically, a cousin is a sibling for whom you’re not obligated to buy a birthday present.)
Anyway, Deseo Deseo is a Mexican horror film. (The title translates to I Wish, I Wish.) Though it’s listed on Prime as being a 2020 film, it’s actually been around for a while. It was filmed and started making the rounds on the festival circuit in 2016. It spent four years playing festivals before being “released” on Prime in August. I point this out not to criticize. Instead, I just always find interesting how we’ll refer to a film as if it belongs to the year that it finally got a wide release whereas many films — especially independent horror films — are usually one or two years old by the time they’re finally made available to the viewing, non-festival public. I think sometimes there’s a tendency to assume that a film is shot and then it’s magically released a month or two later. Actually, it takes a lot of work to not only make a movie but also to get it distributed.
Deseo Deseo tells the story of five cousins who visit the dilapidated home of their dead grandmother. Each cousin is a very definite type. You’ve got the fat nerdy guy and the arrogant wannabe rich guy and the awkward virgin guy and the girl who wants to be Salma Hayek and the other girl who is just normal enough that she might have a chance to survive the film. They’ve all got their hopes and dreams, some of which are better than others. The aspiring actress wants to be a star, which is understandable. The awkward virgin guy wants to bang his cousin, which is really icky.
They find a board game in the basement and they make the mistake of playing it. While holding a magical token, each one makes a wish. The game then tells them what they have to do to make that wish come true. (“I want to be a star.” “Cheat on your boyfriend.”) The game also tells them who will be punished if they fail to follow the instructions. “It’s just a stupid game!” the arrogant rich guy says, despite the fact that the game gives some very specific recommendations.
One way or another, everyone’s wish come true. Of course, this being a horror movie, the wishes usually come true in a totally unexpected way that kind of messes up everyone’s life. And, of course, people have to die. Eventually, our five cousins end up back in the basement, trying to wish their lives back to normal which …. yeah, don’t try to trick the demonic board game, folks.
“I wish for this all to end!” someone says.
“Kill them all,” the game suggests.
Seriously, don’t mess with board games!
So, the plot is a bit predictable but honestly, that really didn’t matter. I mean, yes, the board game is obviously bad news and playing with it was a huge mistake but part of the deal that we enter into when we start watching a film like this is a willingness to accept that the film’s characters are going to do dumb things. I liked Deseo Deseo, even if it wasn’t exactly the most original horror film that I’ve ever seen. It was fast-paced, the atmosphere was creepy, and the actors were all likable enough that you at least felt a little bit of regret when they started dying. I look forward to seeing what director Eduardo M. Clorio does next.