Here Comes the Devil (2012)
(18) Running time: 97 minutes
Director: Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Writer: Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Cast: Laura Caro, Francisco Barreiro, Michele Garcia, Alan Martinez
Reviewed by Matt Wavish
Here Comes the Devil is the first film from Spanish director Adrian Garcia Bogliano to be released in the UK, since 2008’s I’ll Never Die Alone. Since 2008 he has made Cold Sweat, The Accursed and Penumbra, all of which appear to be great horror films, but for some reason have never had a proper UK release. Shame, for Bogliano is definitely a director with talent.
His latest feature is not a full on horror, but more a brooding mystery with horror elements to drive the story, and has been his biggest release to date. Playing at the Toronto International Film Festival last year to critical acclaim, it is definitely worth seeking out if you are of a more patient nature, and a fan of world cinema in general. While far from perfect, Here Comes the Devil leaves with a bitter taste, and a nasty sting in its tail.
Two parents, Felix (Francisco Barreiro) and Sol (Laura Caro), are on holiday in Tijuana with their two children. One day they decide the reignite past passions while sat in their car, while their children play near a creepy looking desolate hill. The scene in the car gets rather steamy, as the parents talk dirty to each other, and sadly lose track of time. Their children do not return from the hill, and the parents frantically try to find them. The children turn up the next day, apparently unharmed, but they seem different…
Bogliano could have gone down the usual possession horror clichés here by adding contorted children, glowing eyes, windows and doors shaking and the wind howling, but he doesn’t, and while it is there throughout the film that the children might be possessed, the film never lets you believe it to be true. Here Comes the Devil plays with your mind, leaving its conclusion exactly where it should be: at the very end of the film. Ideas that the children may have been abused on the hill come into play, and the parents are forced to make some tough decisions, and decide that revenge is in order and go about finding the culprit.
Here Comes the Devil opens as it means to go on: a little sleazy, drenched in 70’s atmosphere with slightly dangerous subjects, and with this comes some gratuitous sex and violence. The film opens with an eye pleasing lesbian sex scene, before being horribly interrupted by a serial killer with a machete, and this should do well to grab your attention. From here on in it’s all about mystery and atmosphere, and Bogliano has plenty. Something sinister happened up on that hill, and the strange behaviour of the children upon their return hints at something horrible.
The eventual reveal is likely to shock you to your very core, and for a director still relatively in his infancy, Bogliano handles the conclusion well. It certainly left an impact on this reviewer.
There are some issues though: the pacing could have been a little more urgent, and quite often the film tends to drag rather than excite. Bogliano also employs the use of zoom-function with his camera all too often, and while at first it felt like a cool nod to the horrors of the 70’s and 80’s, eventually it becomes a tad annoying. Yet, there is a quality here unlike most mainstream horrors, and Bogliano is not afraid to do things his way. If you enjoyed recent slow burners like The Orphanage and even Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, then you will find plenty to like here.
Not quite as great as critics have been saying, but certainly a powerful piece of cinema that is willing to push its audience, and get under our skin. It has its problems, but come the final moments you will forget about those issues very quickly.