There's a sequence in the middle of Here Comes The Devil that reminds me of some of the best horror movies ever made. It's one of those perfect moments where a character - in this case, the mother of two young children who fears something terrible has happened to her children - needs more information about what is going on and finds out things are much worse than even she imagined. Up until this point the film does a good job of convincing the viewer that something unnatural is going on with these children, but as the mother finds out more information from her children's nanny, the film hits a Rosemary's Baby-esque high point that is a thing of surreal horror beauty.
The rest of the film isn't quite as effective as this manic, dreamlike sequence, but Here Comes The Devil fits together as an incredibly inventive horror film for a lot of reasons.
The most obvious reason for the film's success is writer/director Adrian Garcia Bogliano, who has put together a psychological horror tale that preys on some of humanity's worst traits while it makes us wonder if something inhuman is at work as well. Bogliano also spends a lot of time building a correlation between sexual behavior and evil - which leads to some uncomfortable themes when the children are involved - which makes the film seem rather insidious as it works its way into the viewer's mind.
The plot, in its simplest form, is about two children who go hiking on an ominous hillside and disappear while their parents are fooling around in the car, and who are simply different when they are found the next morning. Their mother (played by Latina pop star Laura Caro), becomes incredibly concerned about their behavior and doctors and psychiatrists get involved too, but as time goes on she starts to believe something more evil might be going on here - which leads up to that great reveal I already mentioned and the tense final act that follows it.
Caro makes her film debut here, and gives a rather fantastic performance at the front of the film. I had not previously heard of her musical work, so I was shocked to find out she was not an established actress. She works well off the child actors in the film, who are also pretty new to the trade, while never breaking under the dramatic pressure of playing a mother who's face-to-face with evil.
The film doesn't hit all the right notes - there are a few twists that seem unnecessary and I felt like a few secrets that were revealed too early - but Here Comes The Devil is a dark and unique horror film and the few quibbles I did have didn't prevent the movie from sticking in my mind well after it ended. There's a bigger horror story that could probably be told based around what we learn in this film - in many ways, it plays like the origin story of what could become a gigantic evil - and Bogliano's family-based horror film definitely can be called one of the most interesting horror films of the year.
Here Comes The Devil is playing in select theaters as of December 13, and is also available on all those VOD platforms for rent. You can check out the Unrated trailer on YouTube at this link here.