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DVD review: 'Here Comes The Devil'

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'Here Comes The Devil'

Rating:
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The United States isn't the only country that has a fascination with looking backwards for inspiration for horror. Mexico gives us 'Here Comes The Devil.'

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While on vacation in Baja, California, Felix (Francisco Barreiro) and Sol (Laura Caro) allow their children Sara (Michele Garcia) and Adolfo (Alan Martinez) to go for a quick hike. They don't come back in an hour and a half as agreed and the parents are concerned.

The next morning, they turn up and seem to be unharmed, but they are drastically different. They are sullen, silent and behave strangely. A visit to a psychologist suggests that they may have been subjected to some kind of abuse. The kids aren't talking, though.

Felix and Sol go to drastic measures to find out what could have happened. They have their suspicions, but the truth could be far more sinister.

This aspires to pay homage to some stylistic decisions prevalent in the 70's. An easy modern comparison would be 'House of the Devil' but this film lacks the atmosphere, suspense and horror feel of that offering. If anything, there is an overwhelming sense of sadness throughout the film, especially late in the game. There aren't so many scares.

There are a few horrifically graphic moments of violence, but given the supposed subject matter, these scenes feel disconnected from what is really going on. Some of these moments are a result of desperation yet we don't get a sense that the main characters are in any real danger from the circumstances thrust upon them. The realism is appreciable yet that many of these instances feel like they belong outside of the horror genre. One of the occurrences really piles on the gore in what should be the defining scene of the film.

The supernatural elements are also downplayed to a fault. When they are presented, they are shown briefly and in very common fashions. Again, there is little consequence to most of these flashes in a narrative sense. They are simply there for the audience's benefit. The same can be said for a lesbian scene at the start of the story which has little purpose outside of, perhaps, cheap titillation.

As far as the direction, Adrián García Bogliano, makes liberal use of zooms and uses the camera to spell out important details. This adds a pseudo-gritty look to the film that may be a nod to 70's filmmaking, but without that caveat, it is just an annoying detail. The actual cinematography is nice, though and makes use of the fine desert scenery.

Special features include: an extended scene, behind the scenes, rehearsals, photo gallery, a TV spot, and commentary.

'Here Comes The Devil' fails to live up to the potential of the story's premise. Stylistic charms aside, this is a movie of little consequence.

Rated R 98 minutes 2014

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