Saturday, March 22, 2014

HERE COMES THE DEVIL (2012)

Promising but really flawed, this Mexican killer-kid outing posits a lot of interesting premises, but undercuts itself by resorting to some of horror's most unwelcome cliches.  We begin in fast and furious style with a random violent attack on a lipstick lesbian.  Fingers get removed and added to a creepy finger collection in the killer's cigar box.  We find this out when he dumps them all over a stony hill, after disrobing.


That is definitely the kind of horror movie opening I can get behind!  But then the film shifts in tone and we get finger action of a different sort.  A mom and dad take advantage of their kids playing on that stony hill we talked about.  DEVIL at this point dives deep into eroticism and these scenes are maybe the film's best.  With the lesbian stuff and this part, you might be forgiven for thinking that the movie is more consistently filthy than it is.  But, check it out, these scenes are fleeting, so enjoy the smut while it lasts.


Give credit to the filmmakers for effectively staging some super-hot scenes here.  Love/sex scenes aren't championed as much as impeccable effects or believable crying over diseases.  But everything here works, from the close-ups to the dialogue that seems even more exciting since the dirty words are arriving via subtitle.  I also like how the cast are pretty much normal-looking, complete with blemishes visible in close-ups.  It makes things more real and therefore hotter.



I did not do that on purpose, it was a magical accident.  In the screenshot above, we've veered firmly into horror territory, as the kids have gone missing on the mountain while their parents were screwing in the car.  The gas station attendant warns the mom about the mountain's ghastly reputation, a pretty clear sign that we're watching a horror movie, after all.  The kids return, but they seem to have become evil or autistic, as they're way more remote and exhibiting truant behavior.  And here's where an interesting narrative with a novel feel starts stumbling a lot.


Way out of character, poor-looking gore is just the beginning.  To be fair to the movie, it does lead to some impressive visuals.


After that, though, DEVIL goes off the rails.  The supernatural/LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT mashup tilts far more in favor of ineffective spooky stuff, complete with the same floating people that you've seen lots of times before.  We get explanations for these happenings (and explaining things is always risky in horror), but they are the most basic and terrible explanations ever.  Like first paragraph of a bad nosleep-level explanations.


By the film's end, you get this sort of thing and not much to pique your interest beyond what you've seen many, many times before in this kind of movie.


If this would have stayed a subdued, mysterious kind of film, I would have liked it more.  Or, alternately, if the mythology would've been a little more developed, it probably would have won my heart.  But, as it stands, HERE COMES THE DEVIL is kind of a misfire.  It has enough strengths that you should maybe keep an eye out for director Adrian Bogliano's next film.  But I wouldn't rush out to see this one.

RATING: 5

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