The pre-Columbian Mesoamerican society was obsessed with knowing what the future had in store for them. Many of their tales describe events that they believe will happen. These predictions, many times called omens, were highly believable to the people of these societies. Mel Gibson attempts to incorporate this particular element in the film Apocalypto. There were many key instances where foreshadowing was used and it provided the audience with critical insight with what was to come next. Gibson uses certain filming techniques, such as sound and cinematography, to further enhance the scenes of foreshadowing and provide a deeper insight into the Mayan culture. By doing this, he makes the events in the movie more suspenseful. .
To have a further understanding of the background of the Mayan culture, we will look at some scholarly articles about their history and how they relate to the film. First, we must examine the tittle of the film. The word Apocalypto, derived from the word 'Apocalypse,' meaning "mother of all catastrophes" (Walsh, 2010). The tittle in itself gives us a large amount of insight. This relates to the end of the film when the Spaniards come and take over the Mayan Empire. Having the tittle as Apocalypto provides us with an element of suspense because we are waiting throughout the movie to see what will be the "mother of all catastrophes." We can relate this back to the Broken Spears, a tale of the demise of the Aztec culture. Although it was the Aztecs instead of the Mayans, it still gives us a good connection to the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture. One particular part we should focus on is the "Omens Foretelling the Arrival of the Spaniards." There were eight "bad omens" that happened about ten years before the arrival of the Spaniards. They were horrible events that they believed foreshadowed the arrival of the Spaniards and lead to their downfall.