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Here Comes the Devil – 7

Director – Adrian Garcia Bogliano

Cast – Laura Caro, Francisco Barreiro, Michele Garcia, Michele Garcia, David Arturo Cabezud, Giancarlo Ruiz

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Here Comes the Devil was one of the most hyped and sought-after horror films of 2013. After sweeping the horror awards at Austin’s Fantastic Fest 2012 for Best Picture / Screenplay / Director / Actor / Actress this was a film I, like most others in the genre, absolutely had to see. After viewing this piece I can say that it is definitely one of the better horror films of 2013, but I do not feel it is quite worth the hype. Nonetheless, Here Comes the Devil is a flick I am glad I watched and I am glad to see director Adrian Garcia Bogliano become a growing force in the genre.

While vacationing in Tijuana, Felix and Sol’s two young children go missing while exploring a large cave-ridden hillside. Fear and tension grip the couple, but their worries turn to elation when their kids inexplicably return the following day. Their children seem different and the couple believes stress is to blame, but they will soon learn that their children are not who they used to be and something sinister has come home with them.

This storyline really grabs my attention. I love that it has to do with a place unfamiliar to the family, it has to do with their children, and the origin of the horror is supernatural. Once I got into the film I realized the story would come with a strong sexual element as well. Bogliano’s film opens with a nude lesbian tryst that is interrupted by the panicked knocking of the front door, and bloody results ensue. At first I was left wondering what purpose this scene would serve, and soon enough I started to catch on. After the opening sequence we follow the vacationing family enjoying their stay in Tijuana, despite a weird encounter with a strange local after their young daughter hits puberty and “becomes” a woman. It wasn’t until the children disappear on the hill while their parents are messing around (sexually) in the car that I was sure beyond all doubt that sex would be the root of evil in this flick. If you have seen the film Antichrist then this scene should remind you of its infamous opening sequence. From then on out we watch the couple’s panic and then joy as their children return safe from the hill after an overnight stay, but it is obvious that whatever they experienced on the hill was of ill-nature. According to the locals the hill harbors a supernatural presence, and it seems that it is not a coincidence that the childrens’ disappearance coincided with an earthquake on the hill. After returning home Felix and Sol begin to experience strange and unexplainable events going on around the home, and as expected only one parent believes something is wrong while the other is searching for a logical explanation. Soon enough the horror intensifies, and the most shocking scenes occur when Sol’s relative babysits the children and learns first-hand what they are capable of. The film’s twists and turns are interesting and we ourselves are kept somewhat in the dark over what happened to the children, but the story’s tremendous climax should take care of that.

While I enjoyed this story overall and found it highly engaging, I feel that it had quite a few faults. There are still many unanswered questions, and while some may argue that this allows for the viewer to engage in discussion I felt that the story’s lack of clarification regarding certain events held back what could have been an even better story. At times it really felt like Bogliano was unsure of what type of story he was trying to give us. The film is a slow-burner that also tries to be a supernatural thrillfest and ultimately fails at both. Earlier I mentioned the film’s highly noticeable use of sex as the source of evil in the film, and while we get a few more instances of sex playing a role I felt that if Bogliano wanted to use sex as such a crutch he should have focused on it more instead of teasing us with it. Little things like these added up and left me feeling like the story was a bit dry and lackluster, and this is why I felt like the flick was not worth the hype. I love the story as a whole, but as a 97 minute experience there is a lot missing.

Bogliano’s direction is pretty good, giving us excellent atmosphere and delivering good tension. He gives us a modern feel that also bleeds 70s-esque psychological horror, much like Ti West’s The House of the Devil. There is a heavy sense of dread that prevails throughout pretty much the entire film and this keeps the viewer at attention, knowing that the horror can hit at any time. His execution of the characters is pretty basic, with the children coming off as quite and distant, yet displaying this look and interaction with each other that indicates that they are obviously hiding something. When the horror hits supreme levels inside the home we are shown the best he has to offer, and while it was mostly effective at delivering a chill or two I was expecting better. I will say that my favorite scene was not of the children’s mischief when their parents are sleeping, but the scene involving what happened to the babysitter. This sequence was expertly executed and managed to freak me out a bit despite it being told after the fact – a sign of good atmosphere, storytelling, and execution.

Overall, Here Comes the Devil is a haunting experience that is deserving of your time. Bogliano’s direction is good and as a result we are given one of the better horror films of 2013 and a few good chills for the viewer to enjoy. The story is an interesting one overall that only suffers a few faults that other viewers may not even have a problem with, and may even find preferable. While I still believe this experience is a bit over-hyped, it is definitely one I suggest you check out yourself.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

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