Well, this one certainly starts out interesting. A blurred image of two people having sex comes into focus, revealing two women going at it. Ok… I am intrigued. This scene is trailed by a man storming into the house, brutally beating up one of the girls and chopping off all of her fingers. Then the man is shown naked, in a desert, where he drops dead (I think), scattering his bag of fingers around him. All this happens within the first five minutes of the film. This opening sequence is very bloody and extremely vicious. I think I’m going to like this unexpected shocker.
I’ve been waiting for the release of this Spanish horror film (set in Mexico) ever since I saw the trailer. I have to admit I haven’t seen anything else that director Adrian Garcia Bogliano has done before, but I can now say I am a fan and I look forward to diving into his other works, which have received high marks as low-budget exploitation films. It seems that he is highly influenced by horror films of the 70’s and 80’s, giving his own films a grindhouse effect. This is especially noticeable in his choice of eerie soundtracks and his use of cameras with old lenses and distinctive zooming effects.
While the beginning of the film is very erratic, confusing and unsettling, the rest of the film plays out in a very methodical and creepy way. The plot to this film is brilliant and touches on so many topics that make you think, all the while relishing in scenes of demonic possession and slicing and dicing. A family picnic is interrupted when the young daughter starts her period. Hello, Carrie. An obvious homage to Brian dePalma (director of Carrie), as Bogliano admits to using the same filters in his film as DePalma did in Carrie. After cleaning up at a rest stop, the children go off to play on a hill. A strange sex scene between the parents ensues; talking about their first sexual experiences as children which eventually leads up to act. While the children are away, the parents will play. When the children don’t come back, they start searching. A local man tells them that people believe there is evil in those hills, that it has a strange energy, and many people have disappeared up there. After a night in a motel full of physical and verbal arguments, the children are found and brought home, trying to return to a normal life.
But things are anything but normal. The son and daughter say that they were in a dark cave, that nothing happened. But their actions seem to demonstrate otherwise. They won’t talk about the incident at all and continue to become more and more withdrawn, exhibiting bizarre, almost lifeless, behavior. Experts believe these to be signs of sexual trauma. The parents charge ahead with this theory and make a decision that is alarming and heart-wrenching. I mean, really shocking. Something I don’t want to give away. But I can say that it is incredibly gory, followed by an even stranger and disturbing sex scene. There are a lot of sex scenes in this film, but it is not sexy sex. It’s raw and real. I like that quality. No romanticizing or sugar-coating.
This movie is just as much about the parents as it is the children. The parents realize that their choices and actions are powerless to the forces of evil. When the lights go out, that’s when you can feel the devil standing on your chest. The plot continues to develop into a warped story of occult, of old superstitions, and of demonic possession. It may seem a lot jumbled into one, but it all makes sense in the end. Even the shocking serial killer opening sequence is tied back in at the end. This is so much more than a horror movie. It is nasty, unpleasant, and smart; pinpointed with psychological undertones, especially mindful of theories of sexual awakening and sexual repression. It is meant to disturb and make you think. Whoever says there are no original horror movies these days- go watch Here Comes the Devil.
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