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When Evil Lurks (2023)

As someone who doesn't always tend to jump on the hype train that so often docks at the horror genre station. Be that because more often than not, it never lives up to the hype surrounding it, or because I just find this type of thing to be an overused marketing ploy by studios to brand their movie as the scariest thing put to screen, just to secure an audience interest. However, 'When Evil Lurks' is something I have been unable to avoid over the past few days, and its reputation is coming from everyday audiences and genuine fans of the genre. This movie is everywhere at the moment and being hailed horror movie of the year by so many, I figured it was best not to let this one wait.

'When Evil Lurks' comes from the exceptionally talented Argentinian writer, editor and director Demián Rugna, who many of you may know for the incredibly impactful 2017 movie Terrified (not to be confused with Art the Clown 'Terrifier' movie from 2016). Rugna demonstrates he is a filmmaker to take note of with his latest outing. Not only having one of the most aesthetically pleasing movies of the year, but his seamless editing and transitioning from scene to scene is genuinely faultless. His pairing here with composer Pablo Fuu is exceptional. Together these two artists demonstrate a master class in modern horror and sheer tension building.

The plot for this movie is something I'm going to stay rather vague about. I went into 'When Evil Lurks" completely blind, even down to not know what subgenre of horror this finds itself in. And given my experience with it, I think that is the best way to enjoy the movie. What I will say though, is that this has an exceptionally crafted and well paced narrative that had me captivated from the start and my investment never once slipped. The story is rather self-contained and we don't expand much further than the central core group of characters. That statement is by no means a negative to this movie, but the reason I mention it is because this does build enough of an established world to generate a magnitude of sequels and spinoffs, something I really hope comes to fruition from its recent success.

As for the casting, everyone delivers a great performance. Being a Spanish production and featuring an entirely Spanish cast, this is an entirely subtitled movie. Foreign subtitled movies are something I know doesnt work for everyone. However, even with the language barrier in place it's easy to recognise a heartfelt performance when you see one, something lead actor Ezequiel Rodeiguez delivers and then some. The emotional journey his character goes on over the course of 'When Evil Lurks' runtime is a beyond harrowing and you feel every moment of the pain from this incredible actors performance.

Being hailed as one of the most violent movies of year, I can certainly see elements here that would make it worthy of that title. As a disclaimer for those who may be slightly sensitive to the bolder more shock inducing factor of horror, 'When Evil Lurks' definitely showcases some hard to watch content, be that animal cruelty or even violence against children. However, for the more seasoned horror veterans out there, I think it would be fair to say we have certainly seen far worse. That being said, what we do see here is executed flawlessly, with amazing blood and guts soaked practical effects and perfectly timed moments of genuine shock.

Overall, its fair to say that director Demián Rugna has once again interjected a fresh and unique perspective to a very tiered sub-genre. This is certainly worthy of all of the hype and recognition it is garnering, and I would agree that this is top contender for horror movie of the year. I urge you all to go and watch this exceptionally well written, acted and produced movie, and give it all the support from genre fans it deserves. But, be warned, 'When Evil Lurks' is not for the fainthearted.



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