Submitted by Evan B
Chino wants the phone because it contains a video of him murdering Estrella’s mom. Estrella lures Chino into a haunted room where he is killed by the ghosts of his past victims (including the ghost of Shine). Estrella walks into a peaceful field, away from the violence.
The film starts with text telling us that hundreds of thousands of people have died during Mexico’s war on drugs, leaving numerous orphans to fend for themselves.
Estrella (Paolo Lara) is writing a fairy tale in school when shots are fired. In an effort to keep Estrella calm during the shooting, a teacher hands Estrella three pieces of chalk and says they grant wishes like in fairy tales. After the shooting subsides, the school is closed and Estrella walks home. A line of blood follows her to her house and covers her mother’s blouse. Estrella is disturbed to find her mother is not home. When it becomes apparent that her mom is missing, Estrella uses one piece of chalk to wish that her mom would return. That night, Estrella is terrified when her mother manifests as a wraith and tries to enter the home.
Eventually, Estrella begins living with a group of young, homeless boys that live on the rooftop of the building across the street from her house. The leader’s name is Shine (Juan Ramón López), a young boy with a burn scar on his face. He watches over his friends Pop (Rodrigo Cortes), Tucsi (Hanssel Casillas), and the youngest named Morro (Nery Arredondo). The boys were all orphaned due to their parents being murdered by the local gang, the Huascas. The children bond, particularly over stories of tigers. In their stories, tigers are the kings of the urban jungle and never afraid of the violence facing them. Estrella is still visited by the terrifying ghost of her mother at night, but refuses to listen to her words.
Shine steals a cell phone and gun from one of the Huasca gang members named Caco. When the Huascas learn the children have the phone, they pursue them and kidnap Morro. As the Huascas are engaged in the trafficking of children, Morro is in true danger. The boys convince Estrella to sneak into Caco’s home and shoot him with the gun Shine stole. As she approaches Caco from behind, she uses her second piece of chalk to wish that she would not have to kill him. After she makes this wish, she discovers that Caco has already been murdered. Estrella searches the house and frees Morro and other boys from cages (where they were being held until they could be trafficked). The boys believe Estrella killed Caco and the rumor spreads throughout the city that she murdered him. Estrella’s spectral mother tells her that Caco’s real murderer is looking for them, and will find them.
In an effort to escape the Huascas, the children move into an abandoned mansion. Shine reveals that he stole Caco’s phone because it has a picture of his mother thereon (the only photo he has of her). He explains that he was orphaned after the Huascas set his house on fire (burning his face) before Caco killed his mom. Estrella tells Shine about her wishes. Though Shine begs her to wish for his facial scars to disappear, Estrella refuses. She explains that all of her wishes to date have resulted in bad, unintended consequences. Estrella begins seeing more ghosts alongside her mother. The ghosts tell her to bring their murderer to them.
The Huascas find the kids and demand they return Caco’s phone. A fight breaks out between the kids and the gang members. Although the children wound the intruders and manage to escape, Morro is shot and eventually passes away. As they grieve, Shine tries to figure out why the Huascas want the phone. He finds a video of the Huascas’ leader, a man named Chino (Ianis Guerrero), murdering a woman – Estrella’s mother. Chino is also running for public office and this video would scuttle his campaign and land him in jail. Shine tries to give the evidence to the cops, but intimidated by Chino, they refuse to take it.
Chino calls Caco’s phone. When the kids answer, he demands they return the phone to him or else he will murder them like he murdered Caco. Realizing Estrella hadn’t killed Caco, the boys ditch her (angry that the rumor of her murdering Caco led to them being hunted by the Huascas and Morro being killed).
Eventually the kids reunite and bury Morro together (although Estrella now sees the ghost of him and his stuffed tiger toy). Estrella then develops a plan. They call Chino and arrange to meet him at an abandoned spa to return the phone in exchange for him disbanding the Huascas. As the kids depart for the spa, the line of blood that portended the death of Estrella’s mother begins following them.
The exchange takes place and Chino then shoots his gang members dead as the kids run off, keeping his end of the bargain. Shine and Estrella are separated from Pop and Tucsi, where Shine reveals he gave Chino a swapped out phone and still has Caco’s phone (not willing to get rid of the picture of his mother). Shine panics as he knows that Chino will now try to kill them. Trying to calm her friend, Estrella uses her final piece of chalk to wish for Shine’s scars to be healed. Immediately after, Chino shoots Shine in the head through his burn scars (technically erasing them). This coincides with the stream of blood following them connecting to Shine. Estrella tearfully leaves her dead friend behind as she runs from Chino.
Estrella follows Morro’s ghost into a dark room. Therein, she finds the bodies of all the people the Huascas have killed, including her mother. Estrella finally listens to her mother’s ghost. Instead of running, she harnesses the courage of a tiger. She lures Chino into the room with the dead bodies, and then manages to lock him inside. Chino begins to scream as the ghosts of his victims begin to manifest and attack him. As Estrella walks away, she sees Shine’s ghost heading towards the room where Chino is locked in. The two bid each other a fond farewell. Shine enters the room with Chino and it ignites on fire, killing him. Estrella then sees a vision of a tiger. She follows it out of the abandoned spa and steps out into a beautiful field, free of the violence that has haunted her.