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A married couple lose their children while on a family trip near some caves in Tijuana. The kids eventually reappear without explanation, but it becomes clear that they are not who they used to be, that something terrifying has changed them. Written by
Do you remember that horror film made in the 1970's that crossed Picnic at Hanging Rock with The Omen? You know, the one that someone like Jose Larraz or Jorge Grau made back in the day and that used to line VHS stores in a lurid big box?
Here Comes the Devil is a 1970's horror film made in 2012. Although not set in the 1970's, it has the feel of a 1970's horror film. For some reason, I was particularly reminded of Satan's Blood, another Spanish language exploitation movie. This is not a retro homage that winks at the viewer the way Grindhouse or Black Dynamite do. No, Here Comes the Devil is first and foremost an unnerving horror film, one without humor or irony.
The plot has two children exploring a hillside shunned by the locals as their parents take advantage of the time alone to engage in sexual play. Time passes. The children do not come back. Worried, their parents search for them and find nothing. The next day the police find the children safe and sound. All is fine . . . or maybe not. The children are different, withdrawn and having an unhealthy attachment to each other. The parents suspect their children have been sexually abused and go about searching for a suspect. In fact, the truth is much stranger.
Here Comes the Devil is a slow burn. This was more common in 1970's horror cinema than it is now (the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre for instance). Some have found the film slow. However, the film pays off with a genuinely unnerving conclusion and along the way there is an escalating sense of dread. This dread often takes the form of sexual tension, some of it involving the children. This makes the film an unlikely choice for a US remake. It also makes it feel older, from another time period. I had read about Here Comes the Devil in horror magazines like Rue Morgue and Fangoria. I was pleasantly surprised that it lived up to the hype.
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