When Evil Lurks

When Evil Lurks
When Evil Lurks
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You may have noticed that the new Exorcist film is a flop, but it doesn’t mean that movies about demonic possession are no more. It seems like big screen scares come in all shapes and sizes – from supernatural series to anime; however, if done accurately, films that focus on the insane idea of demons entering human bodies and minds are maybe the most fearsome. This nightmare-inducing subgenre of cinema sees a new addition in When Evil Lurks, a Spanish-language feature directed by Demián Rugna (Terrified), an acclaimed writer-director. It just came out in time for Halloween.

Immediately — and especially for those familiar with Rugna’s filmography — we can tell that When Evil Lurks will be pleasing to the eye. Following several gunshots heard over title cards, two grown-up brothers Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) and Jaime (Demián Salomón) appear as the camera moves toward their property. We slowly learn more about some details of the plot as this kind of deep-focus look creates an eerie atmosphere.

Those looking for funny moments amidst Halloween horrors should not consider this film as there are no smiles from either brother throughout its length. They live out in a remote rural community and investigate gunshots at the neighboring farmhouse where they find a family harboring an overweight rotting man by name Uriel. I still see it as one of those horrifically tragic sights even now when writing these very words.

Strikingly, “the rotten” is what different people including Uriel’s family call him throughout his brief appearance in various scenes, though this term might actually become another buzzword among moviegoers once they learn When Evil Lurks. Another term that might catch wind is “cleaner,” used to describe an exorcist; although it has been called differently by Uriel’s family which reported him to policemen who did not take the issue serious and did not bother to show up. A “cleaner” was meant to reach there last night but it could be a rumor because remember those gunshots? What do we do?!

At first, their neighbor Ruiz tries to kill Uriel with his shotgun but cannot — both because it is morally wrong and because you are not allowed to shoot a demon. Duh! After that, the brothers decide to move Uriel’s decaying body from the property towards nowhere but on the way it disappears when they try avoiding hitting an obviously placed pedestrian in the middle of their road. However, “evil lurks,” and therefore, partly remained on Ruiz’s land taking one among his goats as its new abode. Arguably, this is what the film leads up to. We will stop here without revealing much more. But next time you see an axe coming at you, consider carefully moving out of its way…

Ignoring proper exorcism etiquette, the warring siblings split for a while as Pedro goes to pick up his family. The kicker? He is divorced with a restraining order, and his kids live solely with their mom. Never mind – Pedro must save the day. Evil also “spreads” in addition to “lurking,” which means despite stripping down and burning his clothes that have been exposed to demons off, it does not prevent a curious dog inquiring about such clothes at ex’s house from going there to investigate. You could say out loud, “This can’t end well” as it’s happening on-screen. But we won’t spoil the horrific surprises here.

There is an old saying that goes: “The dead do not die.” In a stunning horror film like When Evil Lurks, this couldn’t be more true given that some primary characters are seen mauled by possessed people or/and animals only for us later to see them walking around town seemingly normal.

The body count of possessed entities piles up, making for a terrifying third act that sees the brothers travel across the countryside with Pedro’s kids to pick up their grandmother who lays down how one should go about handling evil spirits — ahem, seven deadly sins — when they possess people. Examples include: Do not involve electric lights; do not involve animals in trying to rid your world of evil. Oops!—Pedro’s dog has already interfered. But they journey on. Pedero wants help in the city but Jaime insists they visit Mirta (Silvina Sabater), an aging ‘cleaner’ at her isolated home first

It’s almost impossible to watch without fearing for death after watching those last scenes of When Evil lurks—but it wouldn’t make sense for Pedro’s mother character if she was happy with what happened otherwise her seventh rule would not be,” ‘don’t be afraid of dying.’ As some demonic spirits take control of his immediate family members, he is seen in increasing anxiety while watching the three of them- Jaime, and Mirta prepare for the showdown.  What it ultimately takes over is the mind of evil, and an interesting as well as perhaps controversial move which this film makes is making Pedro’s elder son Jair have autism so that it can puzzle demonic spirit because these particular brains do not operate in the same manner. Some may argue that it’s simply clever storytelling; When Evil lurks however succeeds on several other levels. For one thing, as mentioned earlier, this film has masterful camerawork which goes hand in hand with real production value; for instance, seeing worn out cars being driven by Pedro and others whose background settings do not look green screened.

On top of that modern makeup artistry in movies has come a long way and Uriel’s appearance is one example that will give you nightmares. In my opinion, mission accomplished for the make-up department. The bloody hard R-rated violence might cause disruptions among audience members at a movie theatre though. Just don’t bring your kids. Like I said I’m still having nightmare after experiencing When Evil Lurks. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched it by myself…

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