31 Days of Halloween — Day 19: The Devil Lives Here (2016) — by Dr. Shock

31 Days of Halloween - The Devil Lives Here 2016

Editor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast, Universal Monsters Cast and Land of the Creeps horror podcasts. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.

Well over a hundred years ago, a ruthless Brazilian landowner / amateur beekeeper known as The Honey Baron (Ivo Müller) mistreated (and occasionally murdered) the slaves who worked on his estate. He was so cruel, in fact, that he even forced himself on the mother of his most trusted slave, Bento (Sidney Santiago), who soon after became pregnant with his child.

But moments before giving birth, Bento’s mother, a master of the occult, murdered the Honey Baron and put a curse on his immortal soul. To strengthen this curse, Bento’s mother then sacrificed her newborn (the Honey Baron’s son) by driving a spike into its torso, thereby dooming both father and child to re-experience their own deaths for the rest of eternity.

Cut to modern day. The land once owned by the Honey Baron now belongs to Apolo (Pedro Carvalho) and his family, who nonetheless have agreed to vacate the premises one day every year so that Bento’s descendants can perform a ritual to keep the curse from fading away.

This year, however, Apolo has vowed to stay put, and invites his best friend Jorge (Diego Goulart) to spend the weekend with him. Joined by his girlfriend Alexandra (Mariana Cortines) and cousin Maria Augusta (Clara Verdier), Jorge makes the long journey into the country, oblivious to the danger that will befall him and the others should the curse on the Honey Baron somehow expire.

Released in 2016, The Devil Lives Here is a Brazilian horror / fantasy that takes the time to build its own mythology; along with several flashback sequences of the Honey Baron and Bento (which play at random intervals throughout the film), directors Rodrigo Gasparini and Dante Vescio also follow Sebastião (Pedro Caetano) and Luciano (Felipe Frazão), two of Bento’s descendants, as they prepare for the yearly ritual, unaware that the property will still be occupied when they attempt to perform it.

In addition, Jorge’s girlfriend Alexandra is a clairvoyant, and the moment she sets foot in the house, she hears voices emanating from the basement, telling her to do whatever is necessary to sabotage the annual ceremony. Each one of these perspectives is interesting in its own right, but together they make the film’s central story of racism and the evil it breeds more poignant than it might otherwise have been.

The Devil Lives Here does begin to fall apart toward the end, when it plays fast and loose with its own rules (we’re never quite sure what actions are required to keep the Honey Baron from taking human form, and a late twist involving the supposed “reincarnation” of the baby doesn’t make a bit of sense), but for most of its 80-minute runtime, The Devil Lives Here is a tense, atmospheric horror flick, and has me curious as to what other Brazilian genre films are out there for the taking.

—Dr. Shock

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2 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 19: The Devil Lives Here (2016) — by Dr. Shock


    Day 19 – The Entity

    Being filmed in the late 70s and then delayed until it could be released at the start of 1983 in America, The Entity has been a movie that has always flown under the radar for me, only just recently learning about it. In hindsight, I believe the biggest thing going against The Entity is that it was released so soon after the much bigger hit of Poltergeist. Although released several months apart in America, both films actually saw UK releases in the month of September 1982. As both films are about a series of disturbances inside of a family home and the family needing to rely on a paranormal group to help save the day, on the surface, both films are very identical. While Poltergeist ended up becoming a monster hit at the box office, The Entity was merely solid, making just enough money to deem the film a success.

    Right away though, one thing that The Entity had going for it over the other typical supernatural films like Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, or more recent ones such as Paranormal Activity, is that it wastes zero time in the build up of the ghostly experiences taking things too far. The very first time there’s a disturbance, the struggling mother, Carla, is slapped hard enough to make her bleed from the mouth and then sexually assaulted. Considering the fact that I’m so used to supernatural films beginning with something small like some creaks or doors moving, this first attack came as a surprise and quickly cause me to dismiss any tame expectations I had about the film.

    This sort of high intensity attacks is the norm in The Entity. As long as Carla isn’t able to escape before anything happens, she’s sexually assault time and time again. As awkward as it was watching these uncomfortable scenes of a woman being violated, the effects done to make it look as if an invisible force was groping her body was pretty interesting. It makes for quite an odd viewing experience as you’re watching a woman get assaulted, but you’re fascinated by the way her breasts are getting pressed in different ways without any use of CGI or seen devices being responsible. These sexual scenes are the furthest thing away from being “Hot” and instead are just unique effects.

    Although repetitive, I really liked the main theme song. It’s reminiscent of It Follows with this thunderous “BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM” track. The actress who played Carla, Barbara Hershey, did a swell job in her role, particularly whenever she had to really get over how hysteric she becomes during and after an attack. There’s even a fun scene where Carla is attacked yet again, but this time it’s in front of her children. While her oldest, Billy, tries saving his mom, the entity somehow attacks Billy, causing Billy to shoot lightning out of his fingers as if he’s the Emperor in Star Wars. It’s pretty silly, but again it’s not quite something you’re expecting to see.

    Something that doesn’t get examined enough in these sort of supernatural films is the struggle between a scientific and supernatural explanation. On one side, you had Carla’s doctor, Dr. Sneiderman, convinced that all of these believed attacks are a result of Carla’s hysteria caused by her troubled childhood. On the other side, are the supernatural ghost team that quickly end up believing Carla’s claims, and as a result, try to spend the rest of the film preventing this entity from doing any more harm. Both Sneiderman and the supernatural team aren’t able to get along with Sneiderman truly believing that it’s unhealthy for anyone to be giving credence to Carla’s obvious made up fears. I do wish that the film would have spent a longer time leaving it open to the viewer’s own interpretation for which side is correct. As long as all of these attacks were happening to Carla alone, she should not be deemed a reliable source. If she is actually having some mental breakdown, then perhaps the events of the attacks that we’re being shown aren’t actually what’s truly happening. It makes for an interesting sub-plot, but once the paranormal team comes into the picture, that gets thrown out of the window, despite Sneiderman’s stubbornness to move away from his own beliefs for what’s causing Carla harm.

    My biggest complaint comes at the end of the movie. The big finale is centered around the supernatural team rigging up a fake house for Carla to sleep at in order to be able to trap the entity and freeze it to death. There’s some weirdness as Carla manages to escape the entity’s wrath after telling it that it can do whatever it wants to her, but it can’t “Have” her. That led to the entity being captured/frozen into a giant iceberg type object before it breaks apart. If that wasn’t odd enough, it then just ends after Carla returns to her house one last time and the entity speaks to her. Considering the fact that just prior to the closing credits, the movie reveals that this film has been a fictionalized account of a real life case, I’m wondering why they opted to have such an underwhelming ending where nothing truly felt resolved. The movie did such an exceptional job at showing that they weren’t going to take things easy with the entity, only to finally take things easy at the end. Seems backwards to me.

    Overall, I found The Entity to be a fairly interesting paranormal movie that manages to feel different from the vast majority of them. The first attack takes you by surprise and as uncomfortable as some of the subsequent attacks are, there is something interesting in terms of how the filmmakers made it look as if the entity was touching Carla without being able to have someone actually touch her. Considering the fact that there are some basic similarities to Poltergeist, The Entity is unable to compare in Poltergeist’s biggest strength – the likability and bond of the family. The family in The Entity aren’t memorable and merely serve the role as giving Carla the extra role of also being a mother.

    Rating: 6/10

  2. Day 19: Cult of Chucky (2017)

    Cult of Chucky is a direct sequel to Curse of Chucky and mostly takes place in a mental institution. Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) is being treated because she believes that a Good Guy doll killed her family. Part of the fear that comes from the Child’s Play franchise is that no one ever believes the characters when they say a doll has come to life and is killing people. We find out that Andy’s mother is taken to a mental institution at the beginning of Child’s Play 2 and Andy himself has also spent time in institutions throughout the franchise so it’s logical that one of the films would eventually take place in an institution. This film, under the direction of Don Mancini, is highly stylized. The colors are mostly white and grey and a coldness permeates throughout the film. It’s violent and serious in tone. Fiona Dourif once again excels in her role but the story becomes convoluted by the third act and mostly serves to set up the next film in the franchise. 4.5/10

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