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Film Review: Devoured (2012)

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SYNOPSIS:

A young immigrant woman is working in an old New York restaurant earning money to send back home to her young son, who is living with his grandmother; however, malevolent forces are making her job much harder.

REVIEW:

Directed by Greg Olliver, Devoured opens with us joining the New York police department as they are standing over the body of a young dead woman in a restaurant; a picture of a young boy is near her opened hand.

We then are taken back watching this same young woman working in the same restaurant cleaning up after everyone has left. Her name is Lourdes (Marta Milans). She is a young immigrant from Mexico, working herself ragged in order to make enough money to send back to her son, who is in need of a surgery. We know very little about her son, other than his name is Oliver, he lives back home in Mexico with his grandmother, and he is in need of a surgery. Lourdes calls her mother frequently and seems to have to beg her to talk to her son. We are never made aware of the true relationship between her and her mother.

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Lourdes works tirelessly at the restaurant and begins to believe that she is being surrounded by a mysterious ghostly figure. She is also treated badly by her boss, Kristen (Kara Jackson), especially after she catches her boss in a compromising position with a man in the back. Lourdes wants to put everything behind her and just make enough money to get home. She does manage to meet one seemingly friendly man, Frankie Callahan (Bruno Gunn), after bumping into him outside the restaurant.

As the days and nights pass, Lourdes finds that the mysterious ghostly figure is getting more and more vivid. She also realizes that there are bigger problems as she goes up stairs to clean a bathroom, a male patron follows her in and throws money at her in exchange for oral sex. She reluctantly complies and immediately gets sick afterwards. She does however; realize how much money he gave her and begins adding this new activity to her already busy schedule.

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She continues her routine and all the while still making phone calls home, mailing money to her son, and even talking to her new friend, Frankie, who seems to have taken a shine to her, but never goes further than friendly talking.

The end of this film really hits a payoff, which I don’t want to spoil here, as this film really is worth seeing, even though we are already aware of what happens to Lourdes, it’s how it gets to that point is worth watching unfold.

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Devoured is a very dark, gloomy atmospheric look into the life of a woman desperate to make enough money so her son can have a much needed surgery. It shows the length she will go to get this money. She slowly sinks into a deeper desperation allowing her to do things she does not want to do but feels as though she has no choice. We see each day open with a close up of food preparation but he close ups give us a form of disturbing imagery that doesn’t make the viewer want to enjoy this restaurant any more than Lourdes wants to work there. To this reviewer, a close up of meat being cut, does not make it more appealing to eat. The haunting presence in the restaurant that seems to follow Lourdes doesn’t make her quit but does slowly make her more afraid to be in the building.

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While this is not a conventional horror movie, it does give the viewers a feeling of dread and despair for Lourdes. The slow pace works well and gives allows us to feel sadness for what she is going through. We want her to escape the lifestyle that she is being forced to work for her and her son. The cinematography to very well done. The music is haunting and well placed. Marta Milans plays the role of Lourdes to a degree that makes us tear up and cry for her.

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I really did enjoy Devoured and would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys what is actually more of a character study in depression and loneliness than an outright horror film.

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