Tigers Are Not Afraid (original title: Vuelven) is a beautiful but painful tale told with a fantastic touch of magical realism that also turned out to be a good Girls Underground example.

Estrella is a girl living in a Mexican city which has been destroyed by drug cartels. Her school is shut down after a shooting, and her mother has disappeared, most likely killed by the gangs (the fact that her mother keeps appearing in haunting visions cements the idea that she is now a ghost). No friendly or helpful adults seem to exist in her world – she is more alone that even most other Girls Underground.

Estrella falls in with a small group of orphans living on the streets, one of whom has recently stolen a gun and phone from a major player in the gangs. When the gang retaliates and kidnaps one of the orphans, it is Estrella who is sent in to rescue him, which she does, granting her a firmer place in the group. But eventually it is revealed that she was not the one to shoot the kidnapper, and her friends turn their backs on her.

Guided by visions of dead people, and now certain that her mother is among them, Estrella leads a final charge against the gang and its dangerous leader. With all her friends either killed or escaped, she alone descends into a room filled with the bodies of the gang’s victims, and lures the leader inside where the ghosts take their revenge.

This is one of the more dark and violent versions of the archetype I have seen, reminiscent in many ways of Pan’s Labyrinth, which also used the very real horrors that humans inflict upon each other as the setting for a lone girl’s dangerous journey.