A couple’s son and daughter inexplicably reappear after being lost overnight on a desolate, cave-riddled mountainside. Becoming withdrawn and beginning to exhibit strange behavior, their parents quickly assume something sinister happened to them while missing and alone. But after hearing an ominous local legend… the concerned mother and father begin to realize that their children may have fallen prey to something inhuman – and that this dark, unstoppable evil has now returned home with them.
I’ve read a lot of good things about Here Comes The Devil prior to my seeing it and I was really anxious to sit down in my darkened living room and get the bejeezus scared out of me while watching it, the poster image alone gave me the willies! I’ve sat through it twice so far and while it wasn’t the assault on my senses I thought it would be, it is a fairly decent drama w/ some horrific overtones. Those last few words are important to stress because although it does have a fair share of chills it’s really not the all out horror movie the producers (Or that killer poster image) would have you believe.
Written and Directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Here Comes The Devil is about a family of four on an excursion near the outskirts of Tijuana. While stopping to admire the beauty of their surroundings the two children, Adolfo (Alan Martinez) & Sara (Michele Garcia) ask if they can go on a short hike up a mountain path. While the children go off to explore, their parents Felix (Francisco Barreiro) & Sol (Laura Caro) decide to stay in the car and eventually end up recounting their first sexual experiences to each other which doesn’t lead to sex but is a very sexually charged scene featuring a bit of nudity. Soon afterwards they realize that their children haven’t returned to the car and after waiting/searching for them realize that the children are missing. The parents spend a long, stressful night at a nearby motel but the kids suddenly return the next day, unharmed but acting very strangely…
The parents assume that the local pervert (Y’know…the one person in every neighborhood that everyone knows but no one talks to) is responsible for the short disappearance of their kids and (in a brutal scene) take some measure of bloody revenge, but he’s innocent. What happened to their children is far more sinister than they can imagine but here lies the biggest problem I had with the film.
Here Comes The Devil is more of an exercise in maintaining a sense of dread and tension than anything else. The lead performances are more than satisfactory and the actors aren’t the typical good looking, fresh faced ones you might expect. That’s not to say they’re unattractive, they’re just your average couple who are trying to enjoy their familial life and I appreciated that. As a matter of fact, everyone in the film fits their roles perfectly but the script makes the parents particularly inattentive and a bit on the dim side since they don’t seem to be as horrified at the prospect of their children vanishing as I would imagine I would be if the same thing happened to me. As the film continues, the children grow more and more erratic and the parents (especially Sol) grow more frantic to find out what happened to them. Eventually the kids go back to where it all started and when their parents go to retrieve them, the horrible truth is revealed.
Or is it…?
Director Bogliano works really hard to maintain an aura of dread throughout the proceedings and while he succeeds in that aspect his story falters in delivering the scares that the trailer/poster promise. There’s a great deal of sexual tension (& a befuddling scene of fairly graphic lesbian sex in the beginning of the film) running throughout Here Comes The Devil that in conjunction with its theme seems to point to Bogliano’s love for Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975) but that film didn’t present itself as a horror film while his absolutely does. But is it a horror film? I don’t think so…not in the traditional sense anyway. It’s a very slow, deliberate film that requires a great deal of patience to fully enjoy it. But I’m sure that a lot of viewers will be turned off by its languid pace while they wait for something scary to happen.
And while I can’t reveal how it all ends, I can say that while the ending worked for me, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna piss a lot of viewers off. But I think that’s what Bogliano was looking for in the first place and I can’t say that I’m disappointed in the results. If you decide to see Here Comes The Devil then you’re probably going to be disappointed because it really isn’t what it’s presenting itself to be. But if you’re willing to open yourself up to it and realize that it’s intention is to scare you but not in the way you thought it would, then you’ll have a very good time watching it.
Just ignore that kick ass poster…
Here Comes The Devil – 3 out of 5 Shrouds.
Here Comes the Devil is now available on blu-ray per Magnolia Entertainment