“When Evil Lurks”
Five years ago, Argentine director Demian Rugna created a terrifying horror film, “Terrified,” that was scary to the bone. Recently, he returned with a new movie, and it’s the scariest horror of the year in my personal ranking.
Somewhere in the rural outskirts, two farmer brothers discover the torn-apart body of a visiting exorcist in the woods near their home. After a raid in the surroundings, they find the client he was heading to – a neighbor possessed by a demon, lying in bed decomposing for almost a year. Not the brightest guys, the brothers decide to independently get rid of the problem and take this talking bag of crap far away. Oh, they shouldn’t have done that!
I like that Rugna doesn’t waste time on explanations and immediately throws the audience into the thick of events, using broad strokes to paint a picture of a whole world living by its own rules. Along the way, you figure out who the “rotten” and “cleaners” are, why you can’t just shoot the possessed, and how everything is structured here. The casual (or sloppy, if you will) storytelling has its downside: the movie sags a bit in the middle, and towards the end, the characters start frustratingly dumbing down. But you can’t take away from the director the ability to evoke primal horror that surpasses even Pennywise and “The Conjuring”! Unlike glamorous Hollywood horror, the evil here doesn’t flip crosses and jump out of dark corners like a silly boogeyman. It’s not even fair to call it evil. It’s freaking, uncontrollable, concentrated Evil. It doesn’t punish anyone for sins; it has no motivation at all. It simply spreads like an infection, that’s it. And all the horror in the plot is intensified by an atmosphere of hopelessness when you realize that the heroes of the film have no chance against such a force. Well, not exactly. They have a set of rules to follow to avoid getting infected. But, as one of the heroines says, “Evil is already in you anyway, and it manipulates you.” And the rules are only there to prevent a completely nightmarish bloodbath.
Highly recommend to horror fans! But this movie is definitely not for magical Christmas holidays. No, seriously. I warned you.