Movie Reviews

‘Here Comes the Devil’ is cheesy horror from south of the border | 1½ stars

Updated: 2014-01-30T02:26:02Z

By ROGER MOORE

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

“Here Comes the Devil” is a case study in how to make your low-budget horror movie saleable.

It barely has a fright in it on its own, this bloody, Mexican-made supernatural thriller set in the hill country near Tijuana.

But open it with a hot “Blue Is the Warmest Color” sex scene, toss in a few other hot and heavy moments and a generous helping of nudity and you can be sure, at least, of getting a Hollywood studio’s attention.

The movie surrounding that sexual stuff? Meh.

That opening all-female sex scene ends with a brutal, bloody attack, with the crazed killer escaping to a mysterious, rock-covered hill. That’s the perfect place for Sol (Laura Caro) and Felix (Francisco Barreiro) to let their kids take off for a hike. The grown-ups need a little make-out and talk-dirty time in the car.

It’s only after the kids fail to come back that the locals warn (in Spanish, with English subtitles) that “Too many people have gone missing up there.”

But no harm, no foul. Sara (Michele Garcia) and Adolfo (Alan Martinez) show up the next day, their ordeal in a cave over. Or is it? Sara’s burgeoning sexuality and odd behavior make the parents suspect something happened to her. A creepy loner named Lucio (David Arturo Cabezud) figures as the prime suspect. Hey, his name’s close to “Lucifer,” so go figure.

Writer-director Adrian Garcia Bogliano toys with a Hitchcockian touch here and there — parents skipping past the cops and seeking answers, and maybe revenge. The leads — Caro and Barreiro — nicely suggest the confusion, paranoia and terror that takes over when you fear the worst for your kids. “Devil” is in able hands so long as Caro is carrying it.

But the supernatural scares that start happening around our stricken family — flickering lights, random shrieks, “earthquakes” and the like — take “Here Comes the Devil” over much too-familiar ground.

And the best Bogliano can come up with for a flimsy-effects finale is such pure queso that if it weren’t for the subtitles and the sex, “Here Comes the Devil” would have traveled straight to video, where it belongs.

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