When Evil Lurks,written and directed by Demián Rugna (Terrified, Satanic Hispanics), is a no-holds-barred demon-slaying nightmare of blood and guts and unstoppable evil. Set in a world where demonic possession has become as commonplace as a zombie outbreak in post-apocalyptic Texas, the story follows a series of family under attack by a diabolic force of death and destruction.
Brothers Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) and Jimmy’s (Demián Salomón) world is flip-turned upside-down when they discover a possessed man in a farmhouse next door to their property. This poor unfortunate soul has been in the grips of a demon for so long that his body has begun to rot and swell in a delectably disgusting fashion. It’s a real “My 666 Lb Life” scenario and just looking at his rotting bloat is enough to make you throw up in your mouth a little bit. As this man’s body dies, the demon’s powers grow stronger, infecting not only the crops and livestock in the surrounding area but also the minds of the god-fearing farmers in the area.
In hopes of saving their community from this encroaching malevolence, they dump the possessed man a few towns over, hoping he’ll either disappear forever or become someone else’s problem. But demons are not something you can easily wash your hands of and the brother’s become public enemy #1 for these hellish entities spreading across the country like a viral infection of pure-unadulterated evil.
Not unlike Rugna’s 2018 smash hit Terrified, When Evil Lurks is unapologetically twisted. The scares are sharp and fast, coming at you like a knife in the stomach. And doubling down on that delightfully depraved approach, the most vulnerable characters are targeted first to really twist that knife and make you hurt. The central villain is a tried-and-true Satanic monster that gives zero fucks about decency, and it attacks whoever (or whatever) will cause the most anguish and pain. Children, animals, mothers- it gets inside the heads of those unfortunate enough to be caught in its path and targets what they love most like a heat-seeking missile of psychological torment.
The special effects as well are visceral and gross, pushing the limits of your gag reflex. Bodily fluids, gore, rotting (living) corpses; This dang movieisn’t afraid to make you squirm and dares you to look away. Rugna is quickly becoming a household name for genuine terror, but his demon story is as constrained by the format as so many other possession movies. In short, the movie is consumed by rules. Rules that explain how the demons work, rules that outline how to defend yourself against the demon, and a couple more rules that show up in the third act in case you haven’t had your fill yet. It maybe loses its footing a little bit in a chaotic finale, but it’s never without a good scare and a gnarly effect. So, net positive overall even for warn-out exorcism fans like me.
Too many movies promise an unstoppable evil, unchained by the laws and morals of humanity, but very few actually deliver on the promise. Monsters that have no conscience and ghouls that care not for the screams of the suffering somehow always find time to get distracted before eating a child for lunch or putting a kitten in a blender (Note: not in this movie, no need to worry about the kitties). Rugna, despite his story’s subject matter, somehow manages to balance unrelenting tension and over-the-top gore without ever tipping into NSFL territory. But most crucially, in a filmmaking landscape where the hounds of hell seem to always have more bark than bite, Rugna never forgets that no one is safe and no act of violence is out of the question when evil lurks.
““…no one is safe, and no act of violence is out of the question when evil lurks...”“
[Review] Possession Horror WHEN EVIL LURKS is Unapologetically Twisted
Rugna, despite his story’s subject matter, somehow manages to balance unrelenting tension and over-the-top gore without ever tipping into NSFL territory. But most crucially, in a filmmaking landscape where the hounds of hell seem to always have more bark than bite, Rugna never forgets that no one is safe and no act of violence is out of the question when evil lurks.
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