Jake Sulpice


When Evil Lurks

Watched on

Evil loves children. And children love evil.

If you told me When Evil Lurks starts where The Whale ends, with the language change and all, I’d believe you.

Demián Rugna’s When Evil Lurks is unforgiving from its earliest moments, beginning with the reveal of Uriel, the “rotten” eldest son of a religious woman living nearby. While the practical effects were often passably campy, particularly concerning Uriel’s disfigurements and Ruiz’s pregnant wife’s murder-suicide, they were compelling enough to evoke a viscerally gut-wrenching response.

Rugna’s direction builds consistent anxiety through supreme acts of wretched horror, often using the weakest characters to enact or be victims of horrendous, cruel atrocities. Going into this film without any knowledge of its plot may be a woeful mistake for some audiences, especially those even mildly disturbed by the barbaric exploitation of young family members, including mentally disabled youth.

The film’s first act is pleasantly paced, with the mystery of the possession leaving much to the imagination. However, far too much dark ambiguity is bluntly revealed around the halfway point through direct dialogue, losing substantial tension and disclosing aspects of the story that should remain untold.

Overall, When Evil Lurks is a mesmeric, thrilling horror that keeps viewers on edge throughout the 100-minute runtime. Those with rugged stomachs can mostly ignore the narrative inconsistencies of the film, leading to a persuasively revolting slice of Argentinian horror.

I will not recommend this to many people solely based on the brutal intensity of some events, similar to how I think Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is phenomenal yet outrageously offputting, though not to say that this film is nearly as controversial, nor does it contain any sexual attributes.