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Here Comes the Devil

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    Christian Bates-Hardy
    Pod Person

  • Here Comes the Devil



    Released by: Magnet Releasing
    Released on: March 18, 2014
    Directed by: Adrií¡n Garcí­a Bogliano
    Cast: Laura Caro, Francisco Barreiro, Michele Garcia
    Year: 2012
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie

    Adrií¡n Garcí­a Bogliano first gained international attention in 2004 with his micro-budget horror feature Rooms for Tourists, and since then the Spanish-born, Argentinian director has been steadily building a reputation for uncompromising, edgy horror films that have more to offer beneath their grimy, violent surfaces than your average independent horror film. Since 2010 alone he's directed four feature films, The Accursed, Cold Sweat, Penumbra, Here Comes the Devil, and the short film “Big is for Bigfoot” from The ABCs of Death. While he doesn't have the name recognition or cult following of American indie horror filmmakers like Adam Green or Ti West, Bogliano continues to prove with Here Comes the Devil that not only does he have an original vision, but that he has something to say about what we fear and why. In the tradition of the great horror filmmakers of the seventies and eighties, people like David Cronenberg and John Carpenter, and to a lesser extent, his American contemporary Eli Roth, Bogliano uses the horror genre not just as a vehicle for exploiting cheap thrills, but as a means to explore certain cultural taboos and fears.

    Here Comes the Devil (Ahí­ va el diablo) opens in soft focus, and in the throes of Sapphic passion as two beautiful young women scissor each other on a bed. It's an arresting and steamy scene that immediately grabs your attention. It's also a direct reference to the opening of Sergio Martino's classic giallo, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key, and also recalls the lesbian scene at the start of Martino's Torso. The girls collapse onto the bed, and from their conversation it's clear that this is a moment of sexual awakening for one of them. Sexual awakening is a prevalent theme in Here Comes the Devil, and takes on more disturbing implications as the film progresses. The moment shared between the two women is as touching as it is erotic, but it doesn't last, as one of them leaves the room only to be beaten and mutilated by a crazed, machete wielding intruder. The intruder escapes to a nearby hill, strips off his bloody clothes, and proceeds to grind his naked body on the hillside. The film then cuts to our main cast, a family of four, whose peaceful sunny day out in the Tijuana countryside is interrupted by the onset of their daughter's first period.

    The parents split off to teach their kids about menstruation, and as the wife Sol (Laura Caro) is taking care of her daughter Sara in a restroom, she catches a creepy guy outside the restroom staring at Sara's bloody panties. Once Sara has changed into some new clothes, the kids ask if they can walk to a nearby hill. Desperate for some time alone together, the parents agree. The kids leave, and the husband Felix (Francisco Barreiro) fingers Sol in their humid car while she talks dirty to him and tells him about her first time. There is a rawness to the sexuality of this scene and the opening scene that you don't normally see in most horror films, or most mainstream independent films. As Felix's fingers enter his wife, the kids find an entrance to a cave on the hillside; which viewers will recognize is the same hill that the naked maniac was grinding against just minutes ago in the opening scene. The kids enter the cave opening. Hours pass, and the parents wake up, realizing that their kids haven't come back from the hill. They search the hill but can't find them, so they call the police, who tell the parents that it's too dangerous to search the hill at night, and they'll have to wait until morning. The parents stay in a hotel and Felix explodes in a rage, cursing and throwing things at his wife, and this introduces a second major theme of the film: how people close to you or family members can act as if they're possessed or become someone else. The next day, the police find the kids and return them to their parents, but something isn't right. The kids came back from the cave different somehow. They've become withdrawn from their parents, and are unusually close to each other.

    From this point on, revealing any more about the plot of Here Comes the Devil would be giving away too much, but suffice it to say that this film was made with the same diabolical spirit as some of the great horror films of the seventies and early eighties. Shot on location in Tijuana, Mexico, the setting saturates Here Comes the Devil with a grimy, seedy atmosphere. This is Bogliano's first film shot in Mexico, and it's clear that he made the film in Tijuana because of the unease that the setting naturally creates, even in the scenes that take place in their middle-class suburban home. Cast entirely with local actors from Tijuana, the performances in the film are pretty good overall, with Laura Caro in the standout role as the paranoid and beleaguered Sol. There is an intensity to her expressions that really works well with Ernesto Herrera's unusual cinematography, which employs a lot of extreme close-ups of her face that really show off her horrified reactions. Caro's intense performance reaches exactly the right pitch without going over the top. Her slightly chubby figure and acne-scarred, unpolished features are another refreshing throwback to an older era in horror where you didn't have to be a model to be filmed in the nude. This is true of all the actresses who appear naked in the film (there are four, including Caro).

    The end credits features a list of influences, including directors Nicolas Roeg, Sergio Martino, David Cronenberg, and films like Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Entity, among others. There is a bit of each of these films in Here Comes the Devil, and if you're a fan of these and seventies horror in general, then Here Comes the Devil will likely appeal to you on some level. In spite of its many influences, Here Comes the Devil never feels like its trying to be self-consciously retro or ironic about its appreciation for an older era of horror cinema. Similarly, while it indulges in some sleazy sex and a gory throat-ripping scene that you won't soon forget, Here Comes the Devil doesn't fall into the trap of being a self-indulgent horror film, and the film's exploration of cultural taboos and fears regarding menstruation, paedophilia, incest, and rape raises the bar for other contemporary indie horror filmmakers to follow.

    Audio/Video/Extras

    Here Comes the Devil is presented on DVD in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with a reasonably detailed but somewhat flawed MPEG-2 encode. The lighting and colours of the film are dark overall, and blacks appear to be more grey and dark blue than true black, but this seems to be a stylistic decision. The film is never darker than it needs to be, the DVD looks like an accurate presentation of the original films colour scheme. There does appear to be some lossy image compression on this DVD transfer, but it isn't distracting from the picture and finer details in the foreground can be made out. If you're interested in Here Comes the Devil and are overly sensitive to compression artifacts, consider purchasing it on Blu-ray, but this is otherwise a decent DVD transfer.

    Where the image quality of this DVD is somewhat let down by compression, the English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks deliver a quality, full-range stereo experience. Sound is a very integral part of the experience of this film, and both audio tracks utilize the full range of a surround sound setup to achieve its uneasy atmosphere. Dialogue is clear, and ambient background sounds can be easily heard in the mix. The film uses experimental noise during some key scenes to artistic effect, and having a 5.1 setup really maximizes the impact that these scenes have., not to mention the brutal Mexican death metal that blasts off during the end credits. The only caveat is that while the English dubbing is reasonably well performed, it lacks the authentic feeling of the original Spanish language track. The subtitles in the film are easy to read (standard white with black edges around the letters), and are available in English, English Narrative, English SDH, and French.

    Special features on this DVD include a Commentary with Director Adrií¡n Garcí­a Bogliano, an Extended Nightmare Scene, Behind the Scenes Comparisons, Rehearsals, a Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery, a TV spot from AXS TV: A Look at Here Comes the Devil, and trailers from Magnolia Home Entertainment. The solo commentary track from Bogliano is worth a listen as he explains a lot of the creative decisions made in the film, especially with regards to the many visual and audio references to his favourite films from the seventies. One really interesting detail Bogliano notes in the commentary is that his favourite film, and what made him want to become a director, was Richard Stanley's Dust Devil, a reference point that can be seen a lot in Here Comes the Devil. Bogliano doesn't shy away from discussing the film's sexual subject matter and themes either, delving deep into his thoughts about cultural taboos regarding sex. The Extended Nightmare Scene is a longer cut of the nightmare sequence from late in the film that mixes the terror of the rape scene in Rosemary's Baby with the visual flair and experimentation of Bruno Forzani and Héléne Cattet's “O is for Orgasm” from The ABCs of Death. The Behind the Scenes Comparisons showcase the making of some of the scenes in the film, with their final completed version in a picture-in-picture window at the bottom of the screen. The Rehearsals segment shows the cast getting into character and delivering improvised dialogue in rehearsals. It's an interesting extra that includes dialogue not featured in the final film. The Behind the Scenes photo gallery features about seven minutes of production photos. The brief AXS TV spot is only three minutes long, but it's worth checking out for the cast's interpretation of the films sex and violence.

    The Final Word

    Winner of Best Horror Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at Fantastic Fest 2012, Here Comes the Devil is a unique, original film and a successful homage to some of the classic psychological and occult horror films of the 1970s. Though the ending is somewhat anticlimactic, this is a disturbing movie that succeeds in creating an atmosphere of uneasy tension throughout its running time, while also delivering a substantial amount of violence and sexual thrills. Here Comes the Devil is one of the best new horror films to be released on DVD and Blu-ray this year, and if you're a fan of international horror, Adrií¡n Garcí­a Bogliano is a director to watch out for.


























    • Ian Jane
      #2
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      Ian Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      This was briefly published then quickly unpublished so I could add images for Christian, I think you hit it then. It's all good now though.

    • Martin Brooks
      #3
      Martin Brooks
      Senior Member
      Martin Brooks commented
      Editing a comment
      Don't recall the Swedish DVD releases looking that dark. I Enjoyed this film for the most part, but that intro needs to be on the cutting room floor. Totally silly in comparison to the rest of the film which is very solemn and "slow burning".

    • Christian Bates-Hardy
      #4
      Christian Bates-Hardy
      Pod Person
      Christian Bates-Hardy commented
      Editing a comment
      I can definitely see how the intro could be divisive. That said, the movie has some jarring bursts of sex and weirdness throughout and I think the intro is a pretty good indicator of what's to come. Plus it sets up the cave, and on the commentary Bogliano mentions that viewers should pay attention to the voice on the phone in the beginning, which ties in to something later in the film.
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