When Evil Lurks (dir. Demian Rugna)
By: Adam Freed
Nobody is safe. This is made abundantly clear from the outset of Argentinian director Demian Rugna’s shockwave horror film When Evil Lurks. All of the traditional genre based safety nets are cut away from the South American film that grants no quarter to women, children, or animals, all of whom bear the weight of a sadistic evil that is menacing beyond belief. In a demonstration that may very well mark the pinnacle of hellish invention, the devil is alive and well in the remote hills of Argentina.
What begins as the mystery of a “rotten man” and the two well meaning brothers who attempt to relocate his bloated and deformed body to a position in which it can do no harm, quickly devolves into a manic fever dream of carnage running rampant for 99 nightmare inducing minutes. The attempted good deed proves futile and predictably devolves into a brutal carnage filled display that can only be described as a masterful hellscape of filmmaking. Rugna’s film is a powerful reminder for genre fanatics that the work of the devil is beyond comprehension and attempts to rationalize the unthinkable are but an exercise in madness. There are more questions than answers provided in this film, and it would appear that the excruciating lack of resolution is a key to the tormentor’s design.
Despite being armed with its share of contrivances, When Evil Lurks never burdens itself with perfection. Rather, the haunting film assuredly creates a demonic train wreck at breakneck pace, alarming enough for those who bear witness to feel that they have come face to face with the devil himself in the southern hemisphere. Demian Rugna’s Spanish language delight dances somewhere on the ragged fringe of religiosity; it is a weaponized doomsday scenario for those who fear hell’s presence. It is unclear if the director intended to spark a religious behavioral shift from audiences, but one thing is certain, his work will impact the sleeping habits of those who partake in its chaos.
Target Score: 7/10 - This horrifying and gory Argentine thrill ride is one that is sure to haunt the dreams and memories of audiences for years to come. Demian Rugna is the right storyteller at the right time to deliver a tale rooted in a reality where Satan exists and his influence feels very real. This film is powerful and not for the faint of heart.