The last time I saw the Devil he was being his usual prick self to a bunch of people in an elevator. Apparently once he clocked out of that gig he decided to spend some time south of the border, being his usual prick self to a nice Mexican family. That’s the basic premise of Here Comes the Devil, the latest effort from prolific Spanish writer / director, Adrian Garcia Bogliano (I’ll Never Die Alone).
Set near Tijuana, Devil centers on the nuclear family of Felix and Sol and their kids, Adolfo and Sara (Francisco Barreiro, Laura Caro, Alan Martinez, Michele Garcia) who are spending some quality time on a day trip. Sol reluctantly lets the kids explore a local mountain. What she later discovers is that it’s an area of reputed evil, where bad things have happened for centuries. That warning turns out to be spot on when Adolfo and Sara go missing, leaving Felix and Sol to suffer through an agonizing night of uncertainty. One thing Sol noticed beforehand was a local man, Lucio (David Arturo Cabezud) with a perverse interest in Sara’s bloody underwear after she had her first period. Felix also saw him drive his truck up the mountain in the vicinity of the kids’ disappearance.
Thankfully for Felix and Sol, the kids are found the next morning by Sgt. Flores (Giancarlo Ruiz) and the family is reunited. But it doesn’t take long for Felix and especially Sol to notice that there are some pronounced differences to Sara and Adolfo. They’re withdrawn and overall rocking the whole creepy vibe. Also, strange things start happening around their apartment, including unusual noises, flickering lights, Sol seeing things that pass for the demonic, and their friend, Marcia (Barbara Perrin Rivemar) is attacked in a way she can’t even understand, but which has terrified her.
The reason for the change in the children’s behavior that Felix and Sol pursue is that Sara and Adolfo underwent some kind of abuse, more than likely sexual. That notion takes them down a dark path of revenge that puts them on the opposite side of suspicion from Flores later on. And as bad as things are, they only get worse as Sol investigates what happened to her kids that night and comes up with horrifying answers.
There’s a distinct old-school ’70s feel to Here Comes the Devil, back when Satan and demons were really en vogue. The gore is graphic, especially in one disturbing scene involving Felix and Sol enacting some payback in a way that would be unthinkable for an American family in their situation. Watching that scene I was just like, “Damn…” John and Jane Q. American from Michigan would be busy 911-ing and lawyering up. But Felix and Sol don’t bother with all that shit, they just make with the bloody vengeance. Laura Caro as Sol hefts most of the movie on her shoulders, as she works to puts the truth together, in between being naked for like half the movie. Bogliano pulls off some pretty good dread, although the change in the kids and their menace doesn’t come through as well as it should. Although they’re involved in the evil goings-on, they’re very much in the background to Sol for most of the film. Devil actually takes on quite a bit the mantle of mystery thriller as much as it does outright horror. There’s a secret to be uncovered and it’s a pretty scary one.
Here Comes the Devil is from Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing and is available now on iTunes / OnDemand and select theatres.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars