When Evil Lurks

There’s some twisted, messed-up stuff in When Evil Lurks. I’m fairly immune to blood and gore because of how many horror movies I see in a year, and I was still aghast at several of the events that transpire here. Some of it is truly sick and depraved. This, of course, constitutes a total recommendation. The plot is nothing new, sharing similarities to those of zombie flicks and contagion thrillers. An abundance of Holy shit! moments are what will keep you on edge.

Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) and Jimmy (Demián Salomón) are brothers living way out in the country. They discover a body in the woods. Actually, they discover the lower half of a body, intestines pouring out of it. A few minutes later, they discover something that makes the “sloth” murder in Se7en look like an episode of Sesame Street. The meaning is clear to them. A demonic entity has made its way to this rural area and is infecting both livestock and humans. The siblings don’t follow the rules of combatting the so-called “rottens,” leading to an explosion of them. Only an experienced “cleaner” (Silvina Sabater) can possibly stop it.

I’ve left a whole lot out of that description in order to preserve the film’s many, many surprises. Writer/director Demián Rugna has a genuine talent for shock beats. He presents what appear to be innocuous shots, only to interrupt them with sudden graphic violence. In most horror movies, you sense the scare coming. You might not know exactly when it will hit, but you know it’s nearby. When Evil Lurks continually catches you off-guard twice in the span of a second or two – first with the timing, then with the unflinching gruesomeness.

The story adheres closely to a time-tested formula where a virus or evil of some sort passes from person to person (or animal to person), leaving you to wonder who will fall victim to it next. It’s pretty standard in that sense. The presentation is what frays your nerves. From that half-body scene at the beginning, the film makes it clear that anything can happen, and when it does, it’s going to be dreadful. Relaxation is consequently impossible. You find yourself in a hyper-attentive state, anxious about what your eyes will be exposed to next.

Hey, that’s what horror movies are supposed to be all about, right? Effective performances add significantly to the impact. The picture also has an element that might rub certain viewers the wrong way. Anybody can potentially become a host, including…that character. Bold, risky, and unrelenting, When Evil Lurks is perfect for viewers who like their horror on the extreme side.

out of four

When Evil Lurks is unrated R for strong language and graphic violence. The running time is 1 hour and 39 minutes.