I don’t know what possession is more crucial and harmful: the ones that occur in Here Comes the Devil within the Tijuana cliffs or the wrestling match between mature horror and fanboy immaturity that litters the film’s screenplay.
Adrián García Bogliano’s horror is one of those movies where audiences can tell there are heavy influences driving the film. It’s also one of those movies where these homages don’t simply stay on the filmmaker’s sleeve, but rather engulf the whole film.
Bogliano shows movie goers he knows what makes a memorable horror. He seems to know how to establish the beginning of something sinister while also letting the audience use their imagination when it comes to more chilling content. A lot of what happens in Here Comes the Devil looms in the shadows, and are only expressed by what others reflect. These lead to some really creepy moments of pure description.
The performances aren’t half bad either. Young Alan Martinez and Michele Garcia know how to burn a hole through other characters and sink their ominous presence into our afterthoughts.
The roles given to the child cast are more interesting than the adults though. There’s no balance between the two groupings. That said, the relationship between the parents (Francisco Barreiro and Laura Caro) is believable. We feel their stress over the loss of their children and their incessant harping as they try and figure out what’s really going on once their kids become blank slates.
However, the characterization behind the older folks is flimsy. For what feels like every ten pages of Bogliano’s script, abrupt and graphic sexual matter crashes into the story. These scenes of rawness could help flesh these adults out more, but they enter the picture with such aggression and are stretched beyond their limits. As I mentioned, it’s as if another force is snatching the pen away from Bogliano. A being who writes “naked girl gets more naked and shows boobs” with such pre-pubescent enthusiasm.
Despite how Bogliano directs his actors and how he makes a path for this painstakingly slow burn story, Here Comes the Devil can never shake its “been there, done that” vibe. It reminded me of a lower end variation of James Wan’s Insidious. There’s an evil force consistently joining others, and we’re constantly using our own thoughts to fill in the grisly visuals. Funny enough, Here Comes the Devil also hits the same flaw Insidious collided with – it’s conclusion becomes too showy.
What makes me favour Insidious over this is that Wan was able to generate paranoia and increasing fear while keeping up with a decent pace. Bogliano, on the other hand, takes double the amount of time to portray or explain anything. It’s a film that can’t decipher the difference between “a slow burn” pace and a “slow” pace. Because of that, we get an end product that drags its feet all the way to the finish line.
Here Comes the Devil offers very little to get excited about, no matter how much gore, nudity, and creepy kids it hurls at the audience. Then again, should I expect anything else from a film that cared so much to make me not care?