In Theaters 04.21.2023 or Watch at Home 07.14.2023

Cadejo Blanco

Directed by Justin Lerner
Film Movement
126 Minutes
Guatemala, USA, Mexico
Thriller, Crime, Drama, Latin American
Not Rated

Sarita goes out dancing one night at the insistence of her free-spirited sister, Bea. Uncharacteristically, Sarita dances the night away, heading home alone when the party drags on too late. The next morning, after calling friends and neighbors, Sarita begins to panic when she realizes that Bea never made it home. The police are indifferent and unhelpful, but Sarita suspects that Bea's disappearance has something to do with Andrés, her sister’s dangerous ex. Realizing she must take matters into her own hands, Sarita finds a way to befriend him and infiltrate his gang. With an unwavering determination, Sarita becomes increasingly involved with Andrés and the ruthless, violent underworld of Guatemalan street gangs. Praised for its "gritty authenticity" (Screen Daily) and cast with almost entirely non-professional actors, Cadejo Blanco is an intense, nail-biting thriller in the vein of Sin Nombre and Maria Full of Grace, that digs deep into the underbelly of gang culture.

Director & Cast

  • Director: Justin Lerner
  • Starring: Karen Martínez
  • Starring: Rudy Rodriguez
  • Starring: Pamela Martínez
  • Starring: Brandon López
  • Starring: Juan Pablo Olyslager




  • "Now and then a US director immerses himself in Latin American culture so effectively that he delivers with all the gritty authenticity of a local filmmaker. Cary Joji Fukunaga did it with Sin Nombre, Joshua Marston with Maria Full of Grace. Now Justin Lerner has built on years of collaborative work with members of Guatemala’s ‘clicas’, or youth gangs, to deliver a nail-biting, evocative and utterly persuasive crime drama that is very much a part of the country’s burgeoning film output."
    Demetrios Matheou, Screen International
  • "The visuals hold a power few dramas, save for the likes of City Of God, possess. Karen Martínez is a revelation."
    Bobby LePire, Film Threat
  • "reminiscent of Maria Full of Grace and Miss Bala"
    Bruce Haring, Deadline
  • "A crime thriller which at times has the flavour of a western, Cadejo Blanco is ... never less than compelling. Stay with it through the long final shot when the camera lingers as the credits roll. Lerner delivers some tense action sequences but it’s what he can do with a static camera, trusting his actors and simply observing, that elevates this work. "
    Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
  • "Justin Lerner’s sumptuous and simmering thriller... born out of Lerner’s time in Guatemala, talking to real teenage gang members in Puerto Barrios ... resembles Gerardo Naranjo’s “Miss Bala” as a story that drifts on the periphery of the criminal underworld.... Martínez is a real discovery as Sarita...."
    Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
  • "Martínez, who finds the resolve in Sarita and uses it to propel her forward, is a powerful engine for Lerner's storytelling, which brims with on-the-ground grit and authenticity."
    Adam Graham, The Detroit News
  • "Cadejo Blanco is an intense story that... works thanks to its incisive social reflection and its undeniable authenticity."
    Rene Sanchez, Cine Sin Fronteras
  • "[T]his film is a must-watch drama for anyone interested in crime, revenge stories, or simply a strong heroine."
    Cruz Morey, into:screens
  • "Writer-director Justin Lerner has created an often gripping tale from inside a brutal Guatemalan gang in a movie at once gritty and smartly tailored."
    Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent
  • "A vivid and multi-dimensional story...."
    Ali Juell, Austin Chronicle
  • "Unleashing a blend of crime thriller and modern Western, CADEJO BLANCO invites viewers to immerse themselves in a world where Karen Martinez's exceptional portrayal of Sarita captivates the audience."
    Chris Jones, Overly Honest Movie Reviews