Cuando acecha la maldad (2023) @ BIFFF

Two brothers in the remote countryside encounter a possessed villager. His family informed
authorities about it several months ago as his condition had been gradually worsening but no
action has been taken and he has been festering for a while now. Clearly they will have to take
matters into their own hands and eradicate this evil lest it spreads but that may prove to be quite
arduous indeed. There’s a specific way to go about it, you see. It is generally established that they
can’t just shoot it with a firearm as this would only exacerbate matters. So the brothers decide to
load ‘the cargo’ onto their pick-up truck and drive far away to get rid of it. However, that doesn’t
exactly go as planned and they quickly discover that the devilry is already afoot and it is coming for
Plenty of horror movies achieve shock value through disturbing gore and explicit violence but only
few manage to successfully combine this with the necessary depth to make an impact that lingers
long after you’ve left the theatre. There’s a simple yet effective formula, though which Cuando
acecha la maldad employs to a tee. Introduce characters that have at least a minimum of
personality so the viewer has something to connect with and reveal bits of their past whilst having
them go through whichever horrible ordeals they are faced with. That way it is not just meaningless
blood and guts evoking a visceral but fleeting reaction. There are actual stakes causing the viewer
to feel empathy for the characters. Our protagonist is by no means a hero, mind you. In fact we
learn he has made some poor decisions in life and we witness him making poor decisions still as
the story unfolds. But because of the context were given we experience psychological dread which
is in turn amplified by the graphic atrocity on screen.
I caught wind of this Argentinian film (internationally known as When Evil Lurks) from fellow horror
aficionados back in October last year. My interest was piqued straight away as they were
unanimously praising it and quite unmistakable in their description so my expectations going in at
this late night screening at BIFFF were quite high, indeed. Very happy to confirm they have been
met. And then some. I mean, holy shit, man. This movie delivered on its promise. It is intense,
vicious, mean and utterly disgusting in the very best of ways. I rarely have to pick my jaw up off the
floor but boy o boy… This one did it. If you are into this kind of stuff this is an absolute must-see. If
not, stay far away.

Loïc Charlier

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