Demián Rugna brings us one of the year’s darkest; a demon possession thriller presented through a unique viewpoint.
PLOT: In a remote village, two brothers find a demon-infected man just about to give birth to evil itself. They decide to get rid of the man but merely succeed in spreading the chaos.
REVIEW: Every year, there are certain movies that come along with the ability to evoke extreme emotions. When Evil Lurks is a movie that made me feel low in a way I wasn’t expecting. Every character has a darkness to them, and there’s no one to root for. So long as you really prepare yourself for a dire hellhole, there’s much to appreciate. There’s an edge to it that few films have these days. I was genuinely shocked at several moments, which rarely ever happens. There’s also a lot of frustration, as this is very much a Movie, and the characters don’t act with much logic. But it’s hard not to like when a film isn’t afraid to be mean.
The story mainly follows Pedro and his brother trying to get rid of a demon-infected man. All they end up doing is spreading the chaos as the evil continues to infect others. When Evil Lurks does a great job of building the world and setting up the mystery right from the onset. But the inconsistencies frustrated me. If this is so widespread that people are aware of “the rotten,” then the lack of any reaction makes no sense. The first twenty minutes set up a world that understands the severity of the situation, only for the next group of people to be completely ignorant of it. Made it hard to grasp the world this exists in.
I’ll be honest: I absolutely hated Pedro, as I can’t stand characters who think they’re doing good while being the source of evil. There’s a righteousness to it that bugs me. Unfortunately, that frustration is inherent in most characters here. But Pedro is a special kind of stupid, being told not to do something, only to do it then seconds later. If it happened once or twice, it’d be one thing, but the consistency with which he completely screws the pooch is hysterical. The performances are all excellent, with Ezequiel Rodríguez being a standout. Pedro may have sucked, but Ezequiel is great.
Demián Rugna continues to be a fantastic filmmaker, providing a beautifully shot movie. Nearly every frame is oozing with dread. The script is a little all over the place, but he’s able to accomplish plenty with it. There’s a certain scene involving a dog that is some of the most shocked I’ve been when watching a movie. During the entire build-up, I kept reassuring myself that there was no way this was going to happen. So when it did, I couldn’t help but commend the filmmakers. It takes a lot of balls to pull that off. It drops off a bit in the second half, but I liked some of the creepy visuals with the children.
I found When Evil Lurks to be a frustrating albeit interesting viewing experience. I loved it so much but kept getting frustrated with different decisions being made, whether by the characters or the filmmakers. By playing loose with the rules, I wasn’t able to get a grasp on this demon and, therefore, didn’t have much to fear. The practical FX work is phenomenal and features some truly grotesque bits. By the time the credits roll, it’ll certainly leave you thinking as it’s fairly open-ended. And the moments of violence are so visceral, and purposely all in camera, that they’re sure to stay with you. I know they did with me.
WHEN EVIL LURKS IS IN THEATERS NOW AND ON SHUDDER OCTOBER 27TH, 2023.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/when-evil-lurks-review/