The kids are definitely not all right in Spanish-born horror-meister Adrián García Bogliano's dreadfest, "Here Comes the Devil." Set in a harshly lit Tijuana and dusted with the juju of a thousand possession flicks, it concerns a beachgoing family whose preteen son and daughter go missing after an exploratory walk to a rocky, ominous hillside.
When they mysteriously show up again, the pair exhibit an eerie absence of personality. Convinced a creepy vagrant was involved, desperate parents Sol (Laura Caro) and Felix (Francisco Barreiro) disastrously take matters into their own hands, which only pressurizes things when it becomes clearer that a more malevolently inhabiting force is at work. Fond of lurching weirdness, jarring inserts and sonic loudness, Bogliano shows he's invested as much in conveying the psychodrama of a fractured home as he is the signposts of edgy, bloody retro-infused terror.
And yet it's hard to discern if the cheesier elements — schlocky effects and over-the-top acting — are intended as winks to genre purists or simply a preferred style. Nevertheless, Bogliano — who hit it big in indie horror with "Penumbra" and "Room for Tourists" — is a mood man, adept at unease and admirably judicious about shock moments, if not exactly skilled with storytelling or pacing.
'Here Comes the Devil'
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes.
Playing: At Sundance Sunset, Santa Monica.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times