If you haven’t heard of the band Las Ultrasonicas, then let me describe them as a sort of Mexican all-female version of The Cramps. They’re not quite as musically inclined, but they definitely have that brutal sense of danger about their music that makes you want to celebrate absolute boiling bloodlust! And if you haven’t heard of The Cramps, then you’re reading the wrong review!
Shot by Ali Gardoki, guitarist for Las Ultrasonicas, “Everybody’s Dying Here” takes its viewers on a journey through not only what it’s like to be an underground punk band in Mexico, but what it’s also like to be an all-girl underground punk band in Mexico. I loved the music in this film and I appreciated the chance to sneak a peek into a foreign punk scene, but this documentary appealed to me mostly because it was initially conceived as a film school project, but because of Gardoki’s debts, the school wouldn’t allow her any video equipment to make a documentary on her band. So, she went out and did what she had to do to make her film happen, which winds up being one of the most interesting punk rock docs out there. “Everybody’s Dying Here” stands as a triumphant F**K YOU to that school of hers.
This documentary takes us behind the scenes of Las Ultrasonicas as they struggle to keep the band going while maintaining their straight day jobs. The feature also takes us on-stage with the band as they play various underground clubs throughout Mexico — some audiences are receptive, but mostly the band is met with negative screams from all-male crowds who only want to see T&A from a bunch of girls on a stage. But, Las Ultrasonicas adopt the whole “any crowd reaction is a great crowd reaction” motto like any good punk band would. In this doc, you partly believe their motto, but then you get the feeling that they wish to be respected more and for that I don’t blame them at all because these girls rock!
Even though this is a documentary on Las Ultrasonicas, there are several Mexican punk bands featured, giving viewers an even further look into the punk scene over the border. So in a sense, this could be a “Decline of Mexican Civilization.”
My one gripe is that I would’ve liked more music spread throughout the feature. There’re a few gaps that go too long without any musical accompaniment and it gets to the point that you feel like you’re watching a Mexican soap opera with these girls bitching and moaning at one another. I enjoyed being taken into their lives, but I think just a little more music would’ve made this film even better.
More power to Ali Gardoki for not only making a damn fine documentary, but also being a part of one of the best all-female punk bands ever.