Review: ‘Here Comes the Devil’

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Here Comes the Devil, directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Penumbra), is a Horror movie that delivers both psychological and supernatural terrors.  Filmed in Tijuana and Baja California, Here Comes the Devil is a complex and disturbing meditation on adolescence, sexuality, and vengeance.

Read my review after the jump.

Official Synopsis:  Barreiro and Caro are parents whose preteen son and daughter inexplicably reappear after being lost overnight on a desolate, cave-riddled mountainside after a casual hike became every parent’s nightmare. The good luck and good fortune of their return soon changes, as the children’s behavior suggests ominous and unspeakable events the night the children were lost that continue even now. As a loving couple – and loving parents – try to care for and protect their children, the ancient and half-whispered legends around the caves and the mountain and those who have gone there before become too strange to believe … and too dangerous, no matter how insane, to ignore.

Here Comes the Devil has one of the most memorable opening scenes in Horror.  While it’s not unusual to kick off with some graphic sex or nudity, the lesbian scissor-fest we’re greeted by is shockingly intense and extremely erotic.  This opener seems out of sync with the narrative that follows and has lead some to accuse Bogliano of pandering.  The director insists, however, that it’s actually an homage to the Italian film Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (SOURCE).  It isn’t immediately obvious, but this clandestine/unconventional coupling echoes throughout the film.

Here comes the devil

And while we’re on the topic of strange sex, Here Comes the Devil has another scene that is both erotic and awkwardly alarming.  As parents Sol and Felix (Laura Caro and Francisco Barreiro) wait for their kids to finish “playing” on a mysterious mountain, they pass time in their car by masturbating and sharing stories of their very first sexual encounters.  It’s a complicated scene to decipher, one where adult desires mix with childhood thrills of discovery.  Eventually, however, all sexual themes darken into an exploration of abuse and incest.

Here Comes the Devil deftly exploits the most unsettling fears parents have regarding their children.  First, the kids disappear—a scenario that most parents would probably describe as hellish.  Efforts at composure crumble under the stress, leading Sol and Felix to turn on each other.  Yes, the children do return, but that elation is tempered when it becomes obvious that something transformative (and terrifying) happened during their night on the mountain.  When kids keep secrets, parents assume the worst.

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Medical tests are inconclusive which only adds to the parents’ alarm.  And while most children experience a mood and behavioral shift at puberty, Sol and Felix descend into paranoia.  When they set out to solve this mystery on their own, the duo find themselves teeming with uncontrollable rage which leads them to commit unspeakable acts.  Whether or not their actions were justified becomes another major source of friction.

Like his previous film Penumbra, Here Comes the Devil shows Bogliano’s understanding and appreciation of the slow-burn psychological Horror offerings of the late 1970’s.  And while the film is complex (and at times uncomfortable) it’s never boring.  The overall story arc is skillfully woven and the execution is deeply effective.

It’s not a happy film and the viewing experience isn’t exactly fun, but the action and themes are extremely captivating.  The final act is powerful and the open-ended, slightly ambiguous conclusion keeps Here Comes the Devil lingering in your subconscious long after the credits finish.

3.5 out of 5 Skull Heads.

Trailer: HERE

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Release Date December 13 2013
Studio Magnet Releasing/Dark Sky Films
Director Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Writer Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Starring Francisco Barreiro, Laura Caro

 

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About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: https://bloodandgutsforgrownups.wordpress.com/ View all posts by Saucy Josh

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