Argentian horror film When Evil Lurks is the sort of movie that is best enjoyed knowing as little about the plot as possible going in. The eerie and ominous vibes of its opening sequences are greatly enhanced by the confusion they provoke in the viewer, so I will keep the synopsis brief. Brothers Pedro (Ezequiel Rodriguez) and Jimi (Demián Salomon) hear gunshots coming from their neighbor’s woods one night. The following morning, they go to investigate and discover the mutilated body of a man who was carrying some strange equipment with him. When they try to determine who he was and where he was going, they are led to another neighbor’s house where they are told that the victim was heading there to help them deal with a disturbing problem. The landlord insists that they help him to deal with the issue, and things quickly spiral out of control from there.
A sense of dread lingers over every moment of When Evil Lurks, right from the first scene. The real shocks don’t begin until about a third of the way through, but viewers will be on the edge of their seats well before then. Once things really start to go sideways for our protagonists, director Demián Rugna rarely lets up, putting the brothers and the audience through the wringer and eliciting several well-earned gasps of terror along the way. This movie is unafraid to shock in a way few others are, upending expectations at nearly every possible opportunity.
The cast give it their all, selling every moment of hope, fear, confusion, and agony and making the ever-increasing insanity believable. The tight script does feature a few moments of questionable decision making by our characters, but they feel more like a commentary on humanity’s growing distrust of experts than a plot hole, a realization that makes the ending all the more haunting. This has actually been a fairly strong year for horror movies, but this still stands out as one of the best and a possible new classic. ★★★★★
not rated. contains graphic violence, disturbing images, terror, strong language, and brief nudity.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor