Waking Karma (2023)

Karma and her mother have spent their lives evading Paul, her cult leader father (Michael Madsen). With Paul closing in as Karma reaches adulthood, she and her mother flee to a friend’s remote compound. Paul tracks them there and traps them within its walls, putting Karma through a series of escalating tests designed to break her spirit and awaken an unholy inheritance that lives within her.


XYZ Films distributes in the US and were quoted saying: “Waking Karma has haunted the thoughts of everyone at XYZ Films ever since the project first crossed our radar. This is one of the most unsettling cult-themed horror stories we’ve seen in years, and we can’t wait for it to start finding its following this January.”

Co-director Carlos Montaner was also quoted saying: “We were especially curious about the ways in which women internalize misogyny and pass it down to their daughters, often through religious traditions involving marriage, “purity” and other forms of physical and mental control over their bodies. We hope that our dark fable will read as a kind of love letter to each person’s right to determine their own path in life, no matter how hard they have to fight to throw off what others have told them is their destiny.”

Writer and co-director Liz Fania Werner was quoted saying: “I was inspired to write Waking Karma after a family member joined a religious sect whose practice centers around regressive views on gender roles and sexuality. When we read that there are around 3,000 cults in the United States with a membership estimated at 300,000 to three million, we were both immediately hooked into using this film as a vehicle to explore our fears of losing our autonomy as human beings, whether to a larger religious institution or to those who supposedly love us the most.”

Said to combine “paranoia and suspense into a psychologically destructive journey through the unknown.”

XYZ Films released Waking Karma on North American VOD platforms on January 26, 2023.


Directors: Carlos Montaner, Liz Fania Werner

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