Release Date: December 13, 2013 (Limited)
Director: Adrián García Bogliano
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Film Pulse Score: 5/10
Your children have vanished into the vast wilderness. Terrifying. Your children are behaving strangely to the point you fear something may have happened to them something unsettling. Disturbing. You know something is wrong but your children won’t open up to you. Unsettling. What if your children went through a traumatic event and you are struggling to piece together just what happened? How far are you willing to go to unearth the truth? When you discover the truth how will you react? These are just some of the questions faced in Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s supernatural thriller Here Comes the Devil. It’s an intriguing mystery that unfortunately in the end relies heavily on the viewer’s willingness to buy into the unfolding events.
While on a family trip to Tijuana, Sol and Felix allow their two kids to play in the hills while they relax in the car. The kids come across a cave and do not return. Days later the children are found but they seem different. Suspecting something unsettling happened up in those hills they seek out the truth but are unprepared for what lies ahead. To go any further would give away too much but again when all is said and done you’ll either buy into it or you won’t.
The film comes off a bit uneven tonally. The film has a very bombastic opening with a lesbian sex scene underscored by some over the top music that elicited some unintentional laughter. Later there is a sex scene between the parents again underscored by an over the top soundtrack. It’s as though Bogliano was trying to drive a message home or something but it comes off as a bit comedic. Once those seemingly unrelated moments pass, the film settles into being a decent mystery as Sol and Felix try to piece together what happened to their children. There are many unsavory elements touched upon as the clues drive them forward. Whether or not transgressions occurred are never really made clear until closer to the end so you are constantly left in the dark wondering what happened to the kids; which makes the film works. However, once the truth is revealed this viewer checked out for two reasons. One no effort was made to give even a sliver of explanation as to what happened or why. Even the smallest nugget can go a long way. Second, it tapped into an overwrought theme of the genre that holds very little interest especially for this viewer. Again, saying what would give away too much so it’s best left unsaid.
Bogliano gets decent performances from his leads. Laura Caro and Francisco Barreiro are effective as Sol and Felix, respectively. They are probably at their best in a tense scene where they argue over the missing children. On the flip side, they didn’t sell the finale. Michele Garcia and Alan Martinez are good as the children. They do a good job of playing detached and unmoved by their predicament.
Bogliano directs and also wrote the film. There are many elements that are quite intriguing and will draw you in but once it gets into the fantastical it could have used more to help the unconvinced to buy into the truth. I had a similar reaction to the REC films and the remakes. I prefer the remakes because they are grounded in reality it could happen whereas the original films are grounded in fantasy unless of course you believe in that kind of thing. Granted those themes are very important to its culture so one can understand how they can be deemed terrifying. Not to say that’s a bad thing but suspension of disbelief can get someone only so far.
Here Comes the Devil is a mixed bag. Half of it is a decent mystery and the other half is standard fare that is such typical Hollywood horror except this is not from Hollywood. It’s okay to have an air of mystery but it would have been easier to swallow if some sort of explanation was give to provide some clarity. Instead you are left scratching your heading, shrugging your shoulders and moving on. Undemanding horror fans will certainly enjoy it, fans of this particular genre will find much to like, however for the fans that want their horror to be smart and thought provoking you’ll be left holding the bag.
Be sure to check out our interview with the director of Here Comes the Devil here.