A married couple lose their children while on a family trip near some caves in Tijuana. The kids eventually reappear without explanation, but it becomes clear that they are not who they used to be, that something terrifying has changed them.
“Here Comes the Devil” is a movie that tries to be somewhat original and scary. It veers away from the cliched horror movies of serial killers in masks or the ‘found-footage’ craze that has been with us since “The Blair Witch Project”. It genuinely tries a different approach, one that we don’t see very much of these days, that of the supernatural thriller with elements of demonic possession throw in. Thankfully, director Adrián García Bogliano doesn’t go for the cheap thrills of cats jumping through windows or the phone ringing extra loud, just to give us a jolt. The only problem with the film is, it’s not very scary. Actually, it’s not scary at all.
When married couple Felix (Francisco Barreiro) and his wife Sol (Laura Caro) take their two kids, Adolfo (Alan Martinez) and Sara (Michele Garcia) to the beach one day, the kids want to go exploring a rocky hillside. Sol tells them they have an hour and a half and while her and Felix are waiting for them in their car, they fall asleep. They wake up hours later, panic-stricken because it’s getting dark and their children have not come back yet. They call the police who tell them to check in at the nearby hotel as they won’t be able to start their search until sunrise. The next morning, just as they are getting ready to head to the police station, a cop pulls up with both kids and everything seems normal again.
Soon thereafter, Sol notices that the two kids are inseparable, more than they’ve every been but never speak a word, to each other or anybody else for that matter. One day, she decides to follow her husband as he drops the two kids off at their school and after he drives away, they catch a bus which takes them back to the hill where they originally disappeared. Before she follows them, a local man sees her and tells her that the hills are cursed and that there are “things” up there that are hunting prey, especially the young and the weak.
She follows them up the hill where they retreat into a nearby cave and after she enters, to her shock, she finds both her children lying dead. She manages to persuade Felix to come back to the cave with her and when they locate the bodies again, she tells him that there are larger unseen forces at work, that of demons and the devil and that the two children who look like Adolfo and Sara who are walking around, are not human.
The storyline to “Here Comes the Devil” is pretty straightforward and that’s a welcome relief. Too many filmmakers today feel the perpetual need to embroil what could be a good story, with a myriad of insignificant side plots that never amount to much of anything. Later on in the film, we are thrown a red herring in the guise of a local man, a loner who is described by the nearby residents as “weird” and because he is “weird”, we are led to believe that he had something to do with the initial disappearance of the children but soon after he is introduced, we can see a mile away what is going to happen to him. One effective scene has a babysitter come and look after Adolfo and Sara but when the parents come back, she is gone. Sol goes to her house and asks her why she left and she recounts what happened to her.
We get some flashbacks of her being thrown around the room and presumably being raped by an invisible force and while these scenes are quite effective, it’s her recollection of some incidents that we don’t see, that are scarier. Sometimes, it’s the things we cannot see, that are more frightening that what’s right in front of us. When one character mentions “things” in the hills, we’re led to believe that they are creatures, otherworldly beings, demons but they’re never shown to us.
As I stated above, we don’t necessarily have to see them to know that they are really there but other than some scary music and some eerie shots of a rocky hillside, the filmmakers do absolutely nothing to make you really believe that there’s anything there at all. We’re just supposed to believe the rantings of a local man who tells us that the place is cursed and as far as this film goes, that should suffice. In the end, the film never amounts to much of anything. As the movie starts off satisfyingly, we’re led to believe that we’re in for a scary ride but by the time the films ends and the credits begin to roll, you’re left scratching your head, asking yourself, “Did I miss something?” Sadly, no, you didn’t.
In stores March 18th