Movie Review - Here Comes The Devil
Adrian Garcia Bogliano's Here Comes The Devil plays out like a modern day, Grind House-style mind-fuck. It combines elements of possession and the supernatural with much deeper aspects of psychological horror. It fuses scenes of graphic sex with scenes of brutal violence. It repeatedly jumps between modern indie-filmaking and an a nuanced homage to the Grind House / Psychedelic horror films of the 70's and early 80's. And it does all of these things successfully.
The story, set in Tijuana, centers around parents Felix and Sol, whose children disappear while exploring a cave they discover in a nearby hillside. The children mysteriously reappear the next morning, but relief soon turns to concern, as the parents notice changes in the their behavior. Initially, the parents believe it to be an encounter with a strange man who lives outside the town, but after hearing several local legends, the mother starts to think it may be something even more sinister.
I hesitate to say anything more than that, for fear of even hinting at the final act's gut-punch of a revelation, but you really ought to check out the movie for yourself. All that being said, it should be noted that the film is extremely stylized: featuring sudden zoom-ins on objects of meaning, a few scenes of over-the-top gore using old-school make up, and a few weird smash cuts. If you aren't familiar with Grind-House style horror films, it is possible you won't fully appreciate what the director is trying to do, but I think the choices compliment the psyches of the characters extremely well. And as the story is still very enjoyable, I think it will please most horror fans.
The cast was amazing, featuring stand-out performances by both parents, Francisco Barreiro and Laura Caro; the children, Alan Martinez and Michele Garcia; and the babysitter, Jessica Iris. And the director creates an ominous tone that allows the supernatural elements of the story to compliment the dark realities explored within, instead of overshadowing them. He maintains control over the picture, never letting the narrative fade from focus, pushing us toward to brink with the same break-neck pace as the characters. It was a thrill-ride to say the least, spiraling faster and further downwards toward the final frame, leaving us literally gasping for air.
Here Comes the Devil is both a beautifully made art-house horror film and an all out assault on the senses. One of the best films of the year. I look forward to seeing more work in this particular style from this director.
- Leo Francis