Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Here Comes the Devil
Here Comes the Devil is a Mexican horror film that opened last year in limited release. Horror movies rarely do well in limited release, and worse still, this one was saddled with weak reviews. Needless to say, the film struggled in theaters. Does it deserve a second chance on the home market? Or were moviegoers smart to give this film a pass the first time around?
The film begins with a sex scene between two women. When they are done, they talk for a while but are interrupted by loud banging at the door. When the woman who lives there answers the door she is attacked. The other woman fights off the intruder, but not before he cuts off a couple of the woman's fingers. We then follow this man as he climbs a hilltop and does something inexplicable.
We next meet a family on vacation, there's the husband and wife, Felix and Sol, and their two kids, Sara and Adolfo. The parents are enjoying a bit a peace and quiet when their son comes to them and says Sara is injured. She just started bleeding. Of course, she's not actually injured, but just got her first period. They have to go back to town to clean up. While Sol and Sara are the bathroom at a local convenience store, Sol sees some creepy delivery man staring. Afterward, the parents are beat, but the kids want to go to a hill they saw earlier. Sol tells them they can go, but they have to be back in an hour, 90 minutes tops. After the kids leave, the parents get to talking about their first sexual encounters while making out in a truck stop parking lot. It doesn't make a lot of sense. The both of them fall asleep afterward.
When Sol wakes up, she realizes her kids are still missing. While Felix goes to look for his kids, Sol stays at the truck stop, in case they return. While there, a local tells them there is a legend that hill is considered a cursed place. When Felix can't find the kids, they call the cops. That night, they stay in a local hotel. Understandably, they have a fight. However, the next morning as they prepare to join the search, the cops arrive with Sara and Adolfo.
It's a happy reunion, so happy that after they get home, Felix and Sol have sex, because there hasn't been enough of that in this movie so far. Their lives return to normal, with the family going to the movies, father teaching his son how to drive, etc. However, Sol soon starts to suspect something is wrong. The underwear Sara was wearing is missing and when Sol asks about Sara's period, she said it stopped. This is enough for Sara to take her daughter to the doctor where she learns Sara might have been sexually active. Sol becomes more determined to find out what happened that night taking her children to a psychologist, who gets them to draw pictures of what happened that night. When she talks to her husband about the pictures, she wonders why the kids include their car in the pictures. Felix realizes it's not their car, but the pickup truck he saw when he went to look for the kids. Could the man who drives that truck have something to do with what happened to the kids?
Felix travels back to the town where it happened and first goes to the cops to ask questions. The cop that was on duty that night isn't working, but another cop tells the story of the serial killer we saw in the prologue. He was tracked to that hill thanks to the head wound he was given, but his body was never found. That is only one of many disappearances on that hill. Next he goes to the truck stop to see if the owner knows who that truck belongs to. It's Lucio, a strange fellow that works delivering goods. When Felix returns, Sol tells Felix that the psychologist told her there are signs that the kids had a traumatic sexual encounter. It's their worst nightmare, but they think they know who did it and they are planning on getting revenge.
There are some interesting ideas within Here Comes the Devil, but the execution is flawed. I think the main reasons these interesting ideas never gel into a cohesive whole is because there are too many of them. The serial killer in the prologue never features enough in the main story. In fact, the prologue seems more like a lame excuse for female nudity. The parents wanting revenge against the person who harmed their children works better, but it never generated the tension that is should. Also, it turns out to be a red herring. By the time we get to the big reveal, the film had lost me. It had lost me for a number of reasons, including too much gratuitous nudity, including some scenes with a definite misogynistic streak. (In the climactic scene, Sol is attacked by an invisible demonic force, which rips open her top and exposes her breasts.) Also, there were some directing choices I would question, like the number of quick zooms on people's faces. Both of these issues might have been homages to 1970s horror, as this film did feel like a product of that time.
Extras begin with an audio commentary with Adrian Garcia Bogliano, the director. There's an extended nightmare scene and six minutes of behind-the-scenes footage. There are ten minutes of Rehearsals, a photo gallery, and finally a three-minute AXS TV: A Look At. That's a good selection of extras for a limited release.
The technical presentation is solid, but there are a lot of aesthetic choices here to deal with. The prologue is grainy while the film's colors never really pop, again due to choices made by the filmmakers. There's no problems with the video, but it is also not a visually stunning movie either. The audio is also not very complicated, but the 5.1 surround sound track is clear and there is enough activity in the surround sound speakers to not feel barren.
Finally, the Blu-ray costs $18.49, which is $2 more than the DVD. If you are going to buy the movie, you might as well spend the extra $2.
Here Comes the Devil tries to be too many different horror films and none of the elements work well enough to be a success as a whole. The DVD and the Blu-ray have enough extras that if you liked the movie it is worth picking up, while the latter is the better deal over the former.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-03-17