This week, the demon possession film When Evil Lurks is making its debut but isn’t expected to overshadow another similar release, The Exorcist: Believer. However, the movie, directed by Argentine filmmaker Demian Rugna, offers a unique and fresh perspective on the concept of evil spirits rather than simply attempting to cash in on a popular genre.
Rugna first garnered international attention five years ago with his third movie, Terrified (also known as Aterrados). Terrified told the story of a dangerous supernatural entity invading homes in Buenos Aires. Although there were plans for an English-language remake produced by Guillermo del Toro, as well as a sequel, neither project has materialized so far. Rugna did contribute a segment to the recently released Satanic Hispanics.
With Evil Lurks differs from Terrified by replacing a scientifically explained threat with a supernatural one and trading a suburban setting for a road-trip narrative, but the two films share similar tones and themes.
In When Evil Lurks, the plot is set in motion by distant gunshots heard by brothers Pedro (Ezequiel Rodriguez) and Jimi Yazurlo (Demian Salomon), leading to a gruesome discovery. They find half of a body, with signs suggesting an exorcist was attempting to rid a victim of an evil spirit. The brothers then encounter a woman and her two sons, one of whom is severely afflicted by an unknown malady. The affected son, Uriel, is grotesquely disfigured and begs for death.
The Yazurlo brothers approach the police for help but are dismissed. Left to their own devices, they join forces with a neighbor concerned about his property value to dispose of Uriel’s nearly dead body discreetly. However, this act seemingly extends the reach of the insidious force at play.
Their attempt to get rid of Uriel’s body proves futile when it mysteriously disappears, unleashing a series of horrifying events. The evil then pursues the brothers, even as they try to protect their loved ones. Their desperate situation eventually necessitates the involvement of another exorcist, but by this point, the demonic entity is capable of unimaginable feats.
When Evil Lurks could serve as a starting point for a new franchise, expanding on ideas possibly intended for Terrified 2. The film successfully carves its own niche, presenting a mysterious antagonist whose motives and rules are unclear, yet whose actions are undeniably chilling.
While the movie’s narrative can seem disjointed, leaving some main characters in the lurch for extended periods, its unpredictable nature keeps the audience engaged. The film’s ambiguity doesn’t disappoint but rather entices viewers to anticipate future installments where lingering questions might be addressed.
The cast effectively portrays their contentious roles with seriousness, making it easier for the audience to buy into the premise of a demonic invasion. Additionally, the film benefits from the collaborative efforts of the crew, including Mariano Suarez’s impressive cinematography, a compelling score by Pablo Fuu, tight editing by Lionel Cornistein, visual effects by Marcos Berta, and other noteworthy design contributions.
Though it has its confusing and grotesque moments, “When Evil Lurks” is a film with conviction, style, and a dash of dark humor, providing a satisfying viewing experience despite its imperfections. Its quirks and compelling narrative make it a noteworthy addition to the genre. Source