Starring Francisco Barreiro, Laura Caro, Michele Garcia, Alan Martinez
Directed by Adrían García Bogliano
The Vanguard programme at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was the biggest surprise for me this year. With Midnight Madness delivering a lacklustre lineup, it was the Vanguard section that provided me with the thrills, chills, and boundary pushing filmmaking that I require frequent doses of to maintain my ‘happy camper’ state of mind. I decided to check out Here Comes the Devil solely because of its inclusion in the Vanguard programme, other than that I knew next to nothing about the movie. While not one of my favourite Vanguard selections, Here Comes the Devil certainly has a lot to offer, particularly for viewers who get creeped out by quiet, unhappy, Village-of-the-Damned-like children.
The narrative follows a family of four, two parents, a young boy, and a slightly older sister. During a seemingly harmless family day the kids spend some time by themselves in and around a strange mountain or mound of rocks, but unfortunately they don’t return to the parents who await anxiously for them at the bottom of the rocky hill. When the finally do return, early the next morning, the parents are relieved, but soon discover that their children have changed in a mysterious way. The plot then takes multiple sinister turns, culminating in a what is certain to be a parent’s worst nightmare amongst other gory details.
Here Comes the Devil definitely falls in the realm of low budget horror filmmaking, but certainly not in a negative way. The locations are limited, but that is the only noticeable limit placed on the film by the budget. Bogliano gets a lot out of his actors and manages to keep the audience on edge throughout the film, never telegraphing the outcome of the horror, albeit one particular portion of the conclusion was foreseeable from the outset. On the negative side of things Bogliano seems to be incomprehensibly obsessed with zoom shots which tend to distract rather than add to the tension. However, this is a minor complaint, Bogliano’s effort is mostly successful and it would be intriguing to see what his next project is like. Also worth mentioning is a particular special effect sequence involving a slit throat that was incredibly disturbing. One of my film blogging friends said it most appropriately: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before’.
Here Comes the Devil is definitely worth checking out for fans of horror cinema. It may not be a masterpiece, but there are enough intriguing aspects to make it worth your time.