Opening today in Toronto at The Royal Cinema and on the 21st at the Mayfair Theater in Ottawa is this unnerving Spanish film, and TIFF Official Selection, Here Comes The Devil, that isn’t afraid to explore some dark territory.
On a brief getaway, Sol (Laura Caro) and her husband, Felix (Francisco Barriero), let their children Adolfo (Alan Martinez) and Sara (Michele Garcia) wander off to explore a cave-riddled hill while they share an erotic moment. When the children don’t arrive back at the scheduled time, fear and worry plague the parents, almost egged on by the comments of a gas station attendant who mentions something about beings living in the hill, and they spend an uncomfortable night in a local hotel while the police organize a search to begin in the morning.
The kids are found first thing the next morning, and after a turbulent weekend, they seem to be settling into being a loving family again.
It’s not long however, before it seems that something may be wrong with Sara and Adolfo, that perhaps something unspeakable happened to them inside the hill. There are indications of a sexual assault, and there is unusual bruising on their skin.
Sara arranges for both children to see a psychologist, who seems to confirm the parents’ worst fears and, when a lead appears on who may have committed this atrocicty, Sol and Felix come to the unspoken agreement to exact revenge.
But on the same evening they are visiting atrocity with atrocity, something even darker happens in their household while the kids are being watched over by Sol’s friend Marcia (Barbara Perrin Rivemar)…
And it’s not until Sol returns to the hill that she finds out what really happened.
This one isn’t going to be for everyone, there is graphic nudity, blood, troubling revelations, and a lot of camerawork that seems to be in homage to 70s grindhouse films, but for me, it all seemed to combine into a potent little film that doesn’t have to show you everything to scare you, it lets your imagination do some of the work. Instead of going with jump scares or musical stings, the story builds, and builds, letting the tension and fear rise from what is going on with the characters.
I think I may have made things a little more ambiguous as we raced towards the climax, letting the beliefs of the viewer inform their opinion of what happened, but there’s a very clear revelation about what is actually going on which works, but a little ambiguity sometimes can be scarier.
I was suitably entertained throughout the film, and I tend to find ‘foreign’ horror films more engaging, and honestly, more frightening than most of the stuff coming out of North America.
This one isn’t so much as frightening as it is unnerving and disturbing.
So if that sounds like it may be your cup of tea, and you live in Toronto or Ottawa, make sure you get out there and see this one!!