Monday, June 2, 2014

Come On Down (to hell)!

A good title goes a long way. Especially when it comes with game show host enthusiasm.

Quick Plot: We open, as you do, on two attractive ladies having enthusiastic sex. When the deed is done, one expresses some confused remorse at finally giving in to her feelings for her partner. Before the therapy session gets underway, the ladies are interrupted by a machete-wielding mad man hellbent on maiming them before fleeing to a mountain, where he, well, gives that ground all his love. 

But really, let's talk about family values.

Meet a picture perfect little unit on a nice day vacation in those ominously familiar mountains. Daughter Sara has just experienced her first menstruation, but that's no reason not to do a little hiking with her younger brother while her folks fool around in their parked car. When their children don't return, Felix and Sol react as you expect: terror at the possibilities, guilt at their negligence, and anger at each other for letting it happen. 

The next day, the children do indeed return, albeit slightly less lively. Over the next few weeks, Sol begins to suspect that something terrible happened on that awful night, perhaps a crime involving a creepy local who had earlier taken an interest in Sara's menstrual stained panties. Is vigilante justice the cure, or are there deeper forces at play?

Here Comes the Devil was a festival darling and with its strong performances and intriguing film style, it's easy to see why. Lead Laura Caro is a solid grounding force, and the look and sound demonstrate a refreshing feel of something determined to be different. Most interesting is the undertow of sexuality that seems to surround every step of the story.

We open on two women consummating a relationship only for one to feel immense guilt and, whaddya know, subsequently be hunted down by a raging monster. Whatever happens to the children occurs in part because their parents were busy fooling around, the foreplay of which involves both sharing their very first sexual experiences as teenagers. Most disturbing is the uncomfortable sexuality that seems to be brewing between the teen/preteen siblings. 

This film had some serious potential.

It doesn't squander it, exactly. We leave on a decisive note with a few surprises, but somehow I still found myself disappointed by the end of the film. Perhaps it's because writer/director Adrián García Bogliano is clearly so talented when it comes to the actual storytelling. Here Comes the Devil has so much going for it--creepy tone, excellent performances, intriguing score--that it simply feels like his script fizzles in the third act. The opening establishes such an unnerving sense of dread that the plot never quite consummates. It's a mild shame.

High Points
Director Bogliano is not short on using the senses for some style. Both the sound design and camerawork offer lot of unique touches that make Here Comes the Devil feel unlike your standard crop of horror films

Yes, that is indeed a kickass poster

Low Points
Aforementioned disappointment with the final act

Lessons Learned
Frightened eyes never lie

A big pair of sunglasses is all you really need to trail a car unnoticed

Periods are not a handicap (arguable)

Now streaming on Netflix Instant, Here Comes the Devil is well worth a watch. It's a GOOD little horror film, just not quite as strong as its elements could've made it. You might be a tad let down, but I doubt you'll be bored. More importantly, the film demonstrates that Bogliano is certainly a filmmaker to watch. Here's hoping his next script serves his material a little more consistently.


  1. Just once can't we open a horror movie with a couple of dudes gettin' it on? Us gay guys like a little eye-candy, too. :)

    Also? The whole "kill your gays" thing? Overplayed.

  2. I can't argue with that! I think the 'kill your gays' thing kinda works in this film because it's more about sexuality than homosexuality. The evil in this film seems to be awakened or riled up when characters discuss or give in to 'taboo' urges. I'm not at ALL saying two ladies getting it on is taboo, but after the sex scene, one character demonstrates a whole lot of confusion/regret/satisfaction from the experience, so I think to them, it was crossing a line. Later, the parents recount being 13 and having sexual experiences, so it's more of a 'first' thing than anything specifically homophobic.

    And hey, as a heterosexual woman, I am CONSTANTLY bemoaning the gender imbalance when it comes to nudity. Thank goodness for Spartacus!