Horror Flick Here Comes the Devil Punishes the Parents


Horror movies punish the sexually irresponsible; the Spanish-language film Here Comes the Devil manages to indict a married couple with that slasher-movie charge.

Felix (Francisco Barreiro) and Sol (Laura Caro) let their preteen children wander off one afternoon, guiltily grabbing a little mommy-and-daddy private time. The kids go missing but return the next morning, outwardly fine. There’s some evidence of trauma, though, possibly more than a night lost in the wilderness might cause.

Felix investigates a man he believes is a sexual predator who’d been lurking around. Sol, meanwhile, notes the children’s silent moodlessness, and an unsettling closeness between them. Bogliano is not a subtle director — check his sudden zooms on items of portent — but he painstakingly shows us Caro opening her mind to the possibility of supernatural evil, and he’s careful not to tip his hand too soon as to whether it’s real or imagined.

Barreiro reacts to strange occurrences as if he’s in a simmering crime drama, while Caro slowly lets the horror seize her. The two flavors shouldn’t work so well together, but Felix’s more rational fears serve to ground Sol’s more extreme ones, letting us view her final actions from outside of the turgid context of a horror movie.