You know what you’re in for immediately in Argentine director Adrian Garcia Bogliano’ supernatural thriller. Sex and violence with a little bit of confusion. It begins with an explicit lesbian sex scene culminating with a brutal murder by a machete wielding maniac who chops off his victims finger, though when he is bludgeoned on the head by one of his victims, he drops his bags of fingers and begins humping the earth. What does this have to do with the plot of the remainder of the film? Who the hell knows?
This is unrepentant exploitation cinema, which is ridiculously sexual when you consider that it’s ultimately the tale of two children who go missing on a mysterious possibly cursed hill. Bogliano is renowned for his ability to build compelling atmosphere in films like Cold Sweat and Penumbra and he continues here, creating a genuinely unsettling feel for much of Here Comes the Devil.
It’s possible to read the film as a metaphor for sexual desire, where the innocence of a child is replaced with the burning sexuality of a teenager and they literally become someone else. There are plenty of chilling moments here, as Bogliano steals liberally from films as diverse as The Omen, A Tale of Two Sisters and Paranormal Activity, as well as countless others, and there’ something kindve schizophrenic about its multiple ingredients and ability to shift gears.
The brutality is confronting as the even the more empathetic characters find themselves acting is morally reprehensible ways. In this sense it’s difficult to find the moral centre of Here Comes The Devil, which is what makes it so compelling. Beyond wanting to get to the bottom of the mystery of what the children brought back with them from the hill, the joy comes from Bogliano’ willingness to put his characters through all manner of depraved trials and tribulations. In something as a homage to 70′ psychological and grindhouse cinema Bogliano uses abrupt zooms and intense close ups particularly of the aforementioned hill and the characters eyes, there are pregnant pauses and it’s all capped off with a frantic percussion score.
Bogliano is not subtle. Yet nor should he be, he’ having way too much fun.