Chupa (2023) Review – a wholesome tale about family, heritage and cute mythical creatures

April 7, 2023 (Last updated: April 10, 2023)
Lori C. 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service


Even if you take the mythical away, this is a touching story about family, the importance of heritage, and the bonds that matter most to us. 

We review the 2023 Netflix film Chupa, which does not contain spoilers.

Netflix’s Chupa is an adventure movie based on the legend of the chupacabra (aka. the goat sucker). Instead of a blood-sucking monster, the film, directed by Jonas Cuaron, delivers a heartwarming tale about a boy who befriends a mythical (and adorable) creature.

Even before the film came out, many Spanish and Portuguese-speaking netizens were amused, to say the least, by the title. But the feature itself is nothing short of wholesome. 

Chupa Review and Plot Summary

The film starts with a group of scientists led by Richard Quinn (Christian Slater) as they’re exploring a cave in San Javier, Mexico, in 1996. They seem to have found what they were looking for – an adorable little chupacabra cub most said only existed in legends.

It’s a furry cat-like creature with wings and a face that will remind you of Gizmo from Gremlins (the water-free version, of course). 

Before Richard can grab the cub, his much larger and scarier mother appears, growls at the scientists, and runs for it, but Richard and his team give chase. After being hit by a car, the chupacabra is forced to leave her cub behind as she tries to distract the chasers from him. 

We then meet our lead, Alex (Evan Whitten), a 13-year-old boy living in Kansas City with his mother. At school, he’s bullied for his Mexican heritage. Complicating things further, Alex is still grieving the loss of his dad, who passed away from cancer.

The boy is set to spend spring break at his grandad Chava’s (Demián Bichir) ranch in Mexico with his two cousins, Luna (Ashley Ciarra) and Memo (Nickolas Verdugo), all relatives he’s yet to meet. 

At the ranch, Alex quickly befriends his two cousins and becomes intrigued by his grandad’s past career as a professional lucha libre champion wrestler. He learns that Chava has been struggling with a memory loss condition and that he has been secretly hiding the chupacabra cub in his barn.

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The young boy bonds with the little monster and names him Chupa, vowing to protect him from the evil scientist. 

There’s a lot to love about Chupa. To start with, the creature itself is beyond adorable. While the mythical beast it’s based on is a terrifying vampire-like creature, the Chupa presented in this film is simply part of a misunderstood species that needs protection from human interference. 

The story is pretty formulaic, but it’s also done well. Cuarón’s decision to set the film in the mid-90s gives it an air of nostalgia that will undoubtedly appeal to Millenial audiences.

There’s a depth to most of these characters, and it’s impossible not to root for them. Alex is struggling with the loss of his father and uses unhealthy coping mechanisms, while Chava has to deal with the loss of his son and his declining mental faculties.

Even if you take the mythical away, this is a touching story about family, the importance of heritage, and the bonds that matter most to us. 

Is the 2023 movie Chupa good or bad?

While there’s nothing new to the story of a child befriending a mythical creature and protecting it from evil adults, Chupa introduces this heartwarming trope to a new generation. And it does a great job with it.

It’s a good film with a fantastic cast (seeing Christian Slater in a villainous role is always a treat), an adorable rendition of the Chupacabra legend, and, most importantly, it tells a worthwhile story. 

Is Chupa worth watching?

If you’re willing to look past the title mishap, then Chupa is worth streaming. And despite the aforementioned title mishap, the film is suitable viewing for the whole family.

There’s enough depth in it to keep the adults entertained and plenty of magic to keep the little ones captivated. 

What did you think of the 2023 Netflix film Chupa? Comment below.

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