Director: Marc-Andre Samson
Writers: Marc-Andre Samson, Marc-Andre Samson
Stars: Walter Peña, Scott Anthony Leet, Alexis Raben

[usr 7.5 text=true]

REVIEW – Where The Devil Dwells is a character based study on the life of the son of an infamous serial killer named “ The Butcher”. What kind of life could any of us have, if our parent or parents were a monster? This film attempts to answer that question. As the film opens we watch the local sheriff who looks less than thrilled to having this guy in his town. As the son has a ankle bracelet and is basically for his own safety confined to this place in the middle of nowhere. We learn early that his life has taken so many turns and twists, that he is not mentally stable. He suffers from schizophrenia and is constantly reminded what kind of monster his father was. I am not sure if we can call this a decline or just another ordinary day, but we watch as his mind gets the best of him at times and he lives in a very tormented purgatory of a life. He meets a young girl who comes to his door to answer an ad he has for someone to help get his groceries and medicines for him. We find out that those two had a past as well. This film starts off as a character study and then goes into this puzzle, where we the audience are there for the ride to figure out if he is really losing his sanity, or if he even had sanity to start with. The storytelling aspect of this film was fine. You can tell a lot of thought was put into how this story will come across. The story is the selling point. It really keeps you on your feet and alert.

It also fills your mind with an odd manipulation of wanting you not to trust what you perceive to see. The acting in this film is the biggest positive. To use actors and actresses that have no familiarity was such a plus. They were easy to buy into, to believe when they came across. The issues I had with the film all occur in the final half hour. I want to go further into it, but it would spoil the film. The film builds itself like a puzzle, but when the pieces come together they do not feel so special. It feels like random thoughts were put into how to finish the story. I was hoping that the reveal was more hallucinatory than realistic. The film would have us believe though it was realistic, but this film would have been so much better, if it left us guessing. This film as a whole was fun for the first hour plus, I mean who would not love to go thru a stack of old VHS tapes and find one of your Uncle having sex with either a male or female? The story while small and simple did have quite the punch going into it. I love the story of watching mental illness and wondering what can come out of the state of the person. The horror elements are a little here and there, the pace is extremely slow but yet had such a paranoia feel to it, that it keeps you watching. This film for films of indie suspense thrillers may want to dig your nails into this one.

Alexis Raben and Walter Peña in Where the Devil Dwells (2016)

WHERE THE DEVIL DWELLS | Official Trailer:

Watch on Apple TV