When brothers Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) and Jimmy (Demián Salomón) discover that a demonic infection has been festering in a nearby farmhouse — its very proximity poisoning the local livestock — they attempt to evict the victim from their land. Failing to adhere to the proper rites of exorcism, their reckless actions inadvertently trigger an epidemic of possessions across their rural community. Now they must outrun an encroaching evil as it corrupts and mutilates everyone it is exposed to, and enlist the aid of a wizened “cleaner,” who holds the only tools that can stop this supernatural plague.
A wildly original take on the possession film, When Evil Lurks is a shocking supernatural thriller from Argentine master of horror, writer-director Demián Rugna (Terrified).
Folk horror goes hard in this tale of possession and superstition. Writer-director Demian Rugna‘s WHEN EVIL LURKS pits fear and skepticism against an unrelenting demonic force. That’s only the beginning.
The script reveals itself in bits and pieces, with the plot having ties to some apocalyptic lore affecting entire towns. We learn of a set of rules that are cannon to this happening from generations preceding our main characters. Take David Robert Mitchell’s IT FOLLOWS, add a page out of Stephen King‘s IT, and you’ll begin to understand what you’re dealing with. Somehow, WHEN EVIL LURKS is nastier and even more shocking. The script also suggests that cities were targets first, but there is also an implication that class is somehow involved. There are also what amounts to slayers, a select group of people who confront the evil known as “Cleaners.” There is so much meat on the bone in this script that despite the urge to hide your eyes, it compels you to watch it unfold.
One standout performance comes from Emilio Vodanovich as Jari, Pedro’s autistic son. As a mother of a child on the spectrum, I genuinely believed they had cast an actor with autism. It is a startling performance. Demian Soloman gives Jimi an authentic heart. A lot is going on behind those eyes. Ezequiel Rodríguez has your heart in your throat from beginning to end. His portrayal of Pedro runs the emotional gambit. He nails it. Rugna gives Jimi and Pedro enough depth and trauma that Soloman and Rodríguez could pull off a sequel in a heartbeat.
Pablo Fuu‘s music is brilliantly disturbing, particularly in the repeated hard rock guitar riff. Holy Special FX, Batman! WHEN EVIL LURKS pulls no punches with the visual ick. Marcos Berta‘s work is gag-inducing and diabolical. It makes you angry and nauseous. The dialogue is often vile and biting but entirely hypnotizing as you discover more. The brutality grows from one scene to the next. WHEN EVIL LURKS is easily one of the most deranged films of the year. Rugna has broken all the rules. There is no coming back from this one.
IFC Films will release in theaters nationwide this Friday
Available to stream on Shudder on October 27th
Director: Demián Rugna
Screenwriter: Demián Rugna
Starring: Ezequiel Rodríguez, Demián Salomón, Silvina Sabater, Virginia Garofalo, Paula Rubinsztein, Luis Dziembrowski
Producers: Fernando Diaz, Roxana Ramos
Executive Producers: Fernando Diaz, Roxana Ramos, Samuel Zimmerman, Emily Gotto
Cinematographer: Mariano Suarez
Editor: Lionel Cornistein
Composer: Pablo Fuu
Country of Origin: Argentina
Running Time: 99 minutes
About the Director
Born in Haedo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, director and screenwriter Demián Rugna specializes in fantasy and horror films. After making numerous short films in the horror genre and a large number of original scripts, he’s directed several feature films including The Last Gateway, Cursed Bastards! and You Don’t Know Who You’re Talking To. His fourth film, Terrified, was multi-awarded, sold to platforms all over the world, and was the most successful horror film at the box office in Argentina. Recently, he participated in an anthology film called Satanic Hispanics. His 5th feature film, When Evil Lurks, will premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival and be released this Fall.