Monday, December 26, 2016

THE DEVIL LIVES HERE (2015) (DVD Review)

THE DEVIL LIVES HERE (2015)  
AKA O DIABLO MORA AQUI (THE FOSTERING) 

Label: Artsploitation Films
Duration: 80 Minutes 
Rating: Unrated 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Audio: Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with English Subtitles
Directors: Rodrigo Gasparini, Dante Vescio
Cast: Pedro Carvalho, Ivo Müller, Sidney Santiago, Clara Verdier, Diego Goullart, Pedro Caetano, Felipe Frazão, Mariana Cortines

In this Brazilian slice of folk-horror we have three friends, Ale (Marianna Cortines), Jorge (Diego Goullart) and Maria Augusta (Clara Verdier)driving out to a remote plantation to spend the weekend at a small plantation home with their friend Apolo (Pedro Carvalho. The plantation was once owned by the sadistic Honey Baron (Ivo Muller) who treated his black skinned slaves with a particularly harsh brand of cruelty, before they rose up against him. The tale involves a curse placed on the Baron by the mother of a slave named Bento (Sidney Santiago) who figures prominently into he story.

A few descendants of the former slaves must return to the plantation every nine months to perform an occult ritual to ward of the ghostly return of the Barom, but a recent death in the family has disturbed the usual proceedings, which places the four teens, and the would-be exorcists, in peril. A lot of the mishap stems from Apolo performing his own misguided ritual, which he had hoped would free the spirit of a young boy said to haunt the home, but as you might expect when kids go out to a cabin in the woods and fool around with demonic spirits shit has a way of going wrong, which it does. 

The movie is well-shot and acted by all involved, I love Brazilian folk-horror aspect of it, and the movie is plenty bloody. You can sort of sum up the movie's influences as cabin-in-the-woods horror of Evil Dead by way of Candyman, with flashbacks to the past involving the Honey Barons brutality complete with a beehives and honey-laden killing. A certain ghost wears a odd looking wicker-made beekeeper suit which looks great on screen, and the movie also touches on the racism of the past, which is another nice touch and adds to the story. 

The imagery has a nice creepy tone to it with the cinematography casting a copper glow that brought to mind Del Toro's Spanish ghost-tale The Devil's Backbone which suited the story nicely. I will say that I didn't quite "get it" the first watch, a second watch brought a greater appreciation, though I didn't love it, I thought this was a very good foreign occult entry, and I look forward to what directors Rodrigo Gasparini and Dante Vescio do next, this was a nicely executed first film, well-worth a watch. 3/5

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