Sunday, October 19, 2014

30 Days of Nightmares #19: HERE COMES THE DEVIL (2012)

The Story: A family vacation goes awry when an adolescent brother and sister disappear overnight.  When they turn up again the following day, they're... different.

Expectations: THE BAD SEED (1956), VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960), WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976), CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1983), THE CHILDREN (2008)... "Creepy kids" never go out of style.  I wasn't sure if anything new could be done with this subgenre -- but the distributor, Dark Sky Films, has had a pretty good track record of late (DEADGIRL, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, WAKE WOOD, STAKE LAND, THE INNKEEPERS).  So I figured what the hell.

Reaction: This edgy-but-often-frustrating film starts with a hot and heavy lesbian sex scene that's interrupted by a machete-wielding madman carrying a box of severed fingers.  But that doesn't really have much to do with the story that follows, which is about a mysterious hill that might or might not be plagued by an Indian curse, and might or might not be inhabited by ancient creatures or alien body snatchers or the Devil himself.  Something there causes supernatural earthquakes and electrical disturbances, levitations, seizures, abductions, rape, incest, possession?, psychokinesis?.... you name it.  Further complicating this litany of unholy possibilities is the presence of several local weirdos, including a voyeuristic mute who may or may not be a pedophile.  And then there's the dysfunctional family at the center of this otherworldly tale: a paranoid mother, a violently angry father, and a pair of creepy Stepford children who barely say a word to anyone.  All of this to say: This is a very weird movie.  Its general weirdness will undoubtedly appeal to those who like midnight movies, and annoy those who prefer more coherent narratives.  One thing is for sure: It's not dull.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: The scene where the mother sits in a middle school office, listening to a guidance counselor awkwardly warn her that her son and daughter are getting a little too affectionate with each other, is pretty damn uncomfortable to watch.  The eventual threat of aliens and demons pales in comparison.

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