High on blunt impact and low on even qualified hope, this story of teenage girls kidnapped and forced into prostitution coolly identifies a range of social and sexual inequalities in contemporary Mexico, and proceeds with indictment via vivid exposition rather than verbal rhetoric. The resulting film, while a little one-note in its dramatic development, is as hard to shake as it is to watch.
Sex is never shown on screen, but Pablos carefully edits close-ups of the teenagers and their clients to a gruesome, layered sound design, which not only multiplies the impact but literally confronts the viewer with the obscene grotesqueness of a young face smeared in exaggerated make-up, impassive to the grunts of an older man. This highlights their tender years as well as their vulnerability, adding a layer of surrealism to their forced profession, which is more akin to a vampiric exchange.
With its strong direction and performances, the film has unnerving power of a waking nightmare.