In a small remote village, we follow a pair of brothers, Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) and Jimi (Demián Salomón), who hear strange noises from afar. Working together, the pair investigate, discovering that a demon has heavily infected a man, and it is ready to give birth. The village has a known term for this evil- The Possessed One. For the sake of themselves and others in the village, Pedro and Jimi take it upon themselves to remove the demon-possessed man by loading him onto their truck and driving him far away with hopes of dumping him like trash.
However, when their attempts to get rid of the man are unsuccessful, the demon begins hunting for Pedro, Jimi, and those close to them. As a matter of urgency, Pedro rushes over to his ex-wife’s house, explains the terrifying situation, and demands his children leave with him. There’s just one problem: the demon is already there among them. Will Pedro and his loved ones be able to escape and safely flee, defeating the mysterious demon once and for all?
Directed by Demián Rugna, whose past work in cinema includes Terrified and Satanic Hispanics, When Evil Lurks is a horror film packed with many unexpected and brutal moments. Following a similar vibe and concept to the 1998 movie Fallen, which starred Denzel Washington, When Evil Lurks follows a demon spirit that is undetectable and capable of taking over people’s bodies and doing unspeakable things. For those who love horror movies that are creepy and disturbing, this film checks all those boxes nicely. The kills here are a praiseworthy factor, and many moments made me jump out of my seat and swear loudly at the big screen. Scenes including violence are gruesome, and every person who appears on-screen is at a high risk of death.
The leading characters, Pedro and Jimi, are highly likable. On-screen, they seem more like close friends who work well under pressure and have each other’s backs regardless of the situation. At the same time, some audiences may find this next factor frustrating or annoying: the leading character, Pedro, isn’t a perfect human. He’s a man who doesn’t always get it right when it comes to choices, and aspects of his past are dark and unkind. I admired Rugna’s choice to follow a character who is far from perfect, and the performance given by Ezequiel Rodríguez is excellent. Visually, this film is quite dark and bland, yet highly fitting given the premise. Gruesome kills or moments of unexpected violence are realistic and effective. Ultimately, When Evil Lurks is a film that stays with you long after the credits appear.
Overall, despite having a similar vibe to the 1998 film Fallen, When Evil Lurks takes it up a big notch with its gruesomeness, violence, and unpredictability. I found myself eager to know the story’s outcomes, especially knowing that anything could happen next or that any character who appears on-screen is a potential victim thanks to frightening, non-stop demonic possession. Once the demon threat was introduced, I was cautious and on the edge of my seat. Performances are compelling, and the characters here are great even when the lead makes poor choices, reminding viewers that not everyone’s a perfect soul.
When Evil Lurks (2023) is Available Exclusively on Shudder from October 27th!