A couple's preteen son and daughter inexplicably reappear after being lost overnight on a desolate, cave-riddled mountainside. Becoming withdrawn and beginning to exhibit strange behavior, their parents quickly assume something sinister happened to them while missing and alone. But after hearing an ominous local legend, the concerned mother and father begin to realize that their children may have fallen prey to something inhuman - and that this dark, unstoppable evil has now returned home with them.
'Here Comes The Devil' sure made an impact at certain film festivals last year. It even won awards for directing, screenplay, and picture at some of those festivals. Spanish director and writer Adrian Garcia Bogliano isn't afraid to show some taboo subjects on film, as we see in the opening scene of the movie. 'Here Comes The Devil' looks like a modern day indie film that was shot in the mid-70s during the height of the midnight movie Grindhouse era.
However, while the movie has its share of blood, it doesn't come in buckets and spray all over the screen. Instead, Bogliano gives us a very eerie and slow-moving psychological horror film that may or may not be a paranormal one. And that is Bogliano's signature move here. Where other directors will give you twists and turns throughout a movie, the finale usually has a definitive conclusion as to what you just watched and the reasons behind it. But with Bogliano, he leaves us completely in the dark, even after the final credits roll. And with 'Here Comes The Devil', he wants you to decide whether it is the devil or something else sinister at work.
Two things are for sure with this horror film. One is that there is a big undertone of sexual awakenings. There are some very interesting and taboo sex scenes throughout that might make you uncomfortable. And the other is that Bogliano has created such a gloomy and dreadful atmosphere, that we know early on that nothing will end happily for anybody. From the score by Julio Pillado to how strangely Bogliano used his camera, the film has a sense of death all around it.
Bogliano drops us right into the middle of a lesbian sex scene right away, but takes a gross and violent turn a couple of minutes later with these two women. It's as if he is setting the stage for you to expect nothing less than what you just witnessed. We cut to some undetermined time later where we meet Sol and Felix (Laura Caro and Francisco Barreriro) who are parents to their two pre-teen children Sara and Adolfo (Michele Garcia and Alan Martinez).
The family of four set out on a picnic on the countryside just outside of Tijuana, Mexico, where the children play around the hills and caves, while the parents enjoy some quiet time. Lara has just experienced her first step into adulthood, while her parents stay in the car and have some much needed intimate time while the kids are out playing. However, during their strange car sex scene, their kids do not show up to go back home. They're missing as the police come to search and the parents head to a nearby hotel where they place blame.
Fortunately, the kids are found and brought back to their parents the following morning, but don't appear to be all there. Sara and Adolfo soon to display bizarre behavior and the family household is met with flickering lights, ghostly apparitions, and much more. Sol seems to believe that there is some other-worldly aspect at play here, where Felix thinks the kids were taken by a local man they saw while they were out picnicking. When no evidence shows up to that hint to the strange man they think abused the kids, the parents take matters into their own hands, which results in a fairly graphic murder scene, which doesn't fit these seemingly nice people.
It only gets worse from there as Sol and Felix grow more aware of what is happening around them and discover the old myths and folklore about those caves where their children disappeared. The kids themselves begin to morph into something much more evil until we reach the end of the film, which has a M. Night Shyamalan like twist, but never gives us the true answer to what happened.
It's a hell of a way to leave your audience. Bogliano uses quick zooms, clunky editing, and a very brooding score to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. His use of sex and violence is repulsive in this film, yet it's very intriguing as well, and you can't look away. His hypnotic style really draws you in. 'House of the Devil' is not for everyone, that's for sure, but its artistic style and unrelenting sexual content and violence definitely push the bounds. If this is the direction Bogliano is headed in, then sign me up.
'Here Comes The Devil' comes with a very good 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image looks great and is as foreboding as the film. The detail is sharp and vivid throughout, with the exception of some softer scenes that were intended to look tortured and put through ringer.
Closeups reveal facial hairs and scars nicely, and the wider shots of the Mexico landscape provide some great depth and beautiful scenery. The colors range from bright oranges in the desert mountains to vague and muted colors in the interiors. It's almost like if the image was decaying, like some of the characters. Skin tones are natural while the black levels are deep and set perfectly while we are inside the caves. There was no banding, aliasing, or other compression issues to speak of.
This release comes with a fantastic option of a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix in either Spanish or dubbed English. I prefer the Spanish with English subtitles. This audio track is loud, robust, and full of surprises. It's a truly terrifying soundtrack. One that might haunt you when you sleep. The dialogue is always crystal clear without any pops, cracks, or hissing.
Effects pour through the surrounds, often with demonic sounds, doors slamming, and ghastly voices chiming in. The score has a very haunting quality to it with a mix of heavy metal, and will always leave you on the edge of your seat. The bass kicks in quite often and will rattle your walls and your body at times. Basically, all of the sound effects and music are turned way up to give you a very chaotic atmosphere. And it works very well.
Commentary with Director Adrián García Bogliano: Director Bogliano gives a very detailed commentary on the making of 'Here Comes The Devil'. He discusses and defends his stylistic choices and how he used the camera. He goes into detail on the casting, the script, and the origins of the film. He tends to not dive into the meaning behind the tones of the film though. If you're a fan of the movie, then you might like this commentary, as it sheds some light on why some of the choices were made.
Extended Nightmare Scene (HD, 2 mins.) - Here is a longer version of the nightmare scene that one of the characters had.
Behind the Scenes Comparisons (HD, 7 mins.) - This is a picture in picture extra that shows how the director got some of the shots for his film, while the selected scenes are played below.
Rehearsals (SD, 10 mins.) - Here is some on set footage of some of the heavier scenes being rehearsed with some good improv.
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (HD, 8 mins.) - Here are quite a few behind the scenes and on set photos of the movie that play in a slideshow.
AXS TV: A Look at 'Here Comes the Devil' (SHD, 3 mins.) - A short and standard promo spot for the movie with short interviews from the cast and crew.
Trailers (HD, 8 mins.) - Trailers for four other films.
Bogliano's 'Here Comes The Devil' is a breath of fresh air in the horror genre. While some might find it off-putting or slow, I found it mesmerizing and truly haunting. This film will definitely be one I show and recommend to friends. The video presentation is solid with an audio presentation that will knock you out of your seat. The extras are pretty decent as well. If you're a fan of horror, then by all means grab this film anyway you can.