Everyone Will Burn

Everyone Will Burn
Everyone Will Burn
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The horror genre has been a mirror of the film industry itself. That’s why it has grown into remakes and franchises, which have become its enemies in recent years. Ever since then, most of the movies in this horror universe have come from recurring films like The Nun 2, The Exorcist: Believer, and Insidious: The Red Door which have continued to dominate horror terrain with their same stale gimmicks and formulas that have long since ceased to function.

With this oversaturation of unoriginal names, new independent releases are rare but when they do come out they are warmly accepted by audiences – Talk to Me, Barbarian or Smile. This is demonstrated by one Spanish-language horror film currently receiving its North American premiere – everyone will burn, it is a great example of how powerful independent horror really is and that there can still be some originality left in the genre.

Everyone Will Burn has its pacing issues at times and feels oddly emotionally empty or stagnant for short periods of time, but these minor flaws do not detract too much from an otherwise very good little scary movie that incorporates several interesting trends (such as religious horror, social commentary, A24-style elevated horrors) blending all genres together.

David Hebrero’s second feature film Everyone Will Burn follows the director who is making a name for himself at home in Spain (where he’s known as “a breathless talent”) as well as among some Hollywood execs on America’s West Coast. The beginning of the movie shows us an overlay with information about the old superstition that made people from this small Spanish town sacrifice a baby back in 1980 to avoid an apocalypse.

Hebrero begins how he wants his story to go on; his protagonist Maria Jose (Macarena Gomez) literally teeters on a bridge looking down at a rushing river water below while contemplating her own suicide. However, Hebrero does not let her fall over the edge yet but instead, he sends a woman-childlike devil dressed in soot to coax her down.

Maria takes the girl home with her and wonders where her parents are before driving her into the police station. That night, we know she is special when she uses these powers to invisibly kill two policemen. Very quickly we find out about Maria’s difficult past. She divorced her husband and lost their child Lolo. To Maria, this dwarfed teenager is reborn Lolo; she later names the girl Lucia (Sofia Garcia) but pretends not to notice that Lucia starts killing people all over town.

This movie has a lot of depth for two hours and its extremely fast pace at times threatens to ruin the film’s sustained rhythm. However, this movie does not adhere strictly to genre conventions. The traditional religious horror card is frequently played here as the local churchgoers and priest rise up against these acts of vengeance by closing ranks together.

This is what the title suggests: Everyone Will Burn, which also means it is a slow release, as well as sparking and building up towards an explosive ending. The atmosphere of this movie reminds me of several A24 films that have time to really build tension like It Comes at Night, The Lighthouse, Midsommar and Men as well as Saint Maud the religious horror masterpiece from Film4 and BFI. However, it juxtaposes this ‘elevated horror’ with the great Spanish cinema from this century particularly period movies that feature horrors in old villages. For instance; The Orphanage, The Devil’s Backbone, The Blacksmith and the Devil and Sister Death are solid examples of this while Everyone Will Burn combines that cultural slant with its slow-burn A24-like aesthetic.

On the other hand, Hebrero’s film isn’t just based on such a unique vibe but gets its thrills through various means; something worth applauding since throughout Everyone Will Burn there is an atmosphere that imposes unrelenting discomforts which continue to haunt you long after it ends. There is undoubtedly something deeply contemplative about what Hebrero offers here; he doesn’t linger too long or worry about how generic his point may appear — much to the film’s advantage. Contemporary modernism is successfully intertwined with an eerie past in Everyone Will Burn which cannot be mistaken for any of A24’s glittering anthologies of fear yet possibly could be.

Macarena Gomez certainly isn’t a household name when it comes to films. This Spanish actress has mostly appeared in Spanish horror flicks along with numerous television series throughout her career so far making him not well known outside Spain for featuring in movies but one asks himself why she didn’t catch Hollywood casting director eyes? In Everyone Will Burn Macarena Gomez plays Maria Jose-the disturbed protagonist whose performance could be considered as the backbone of this movie. She lifts it up from sporadic emotionless mediocrity to something all-absorbing as a woman who lost her son and her marriage is falling apart.

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