When Evil Lurks: Best Horror Movie Of 2023?

Is When Evil Lurks t best horror movie of 2023?

I am so glad someone recommended this to me on my Twitter, and bonus that it was available on Shudder!

Plot Summary

In a rural Argentine town, two brothers confront an ancient evil that threatens their community, setting the stage for a gruesome genre showdown. Building on the success of his 2017 film, Terrified, writer and director Demian Rugna pushes the boundaries of traditional horror tropes to create an unsettling and at times, gory experience. Despite the discomfort it may bring, 

Main Characters and Performances

The standout performances in the movie are by Ezequiel Rodriguez and Damen Salomon who truly bring their characters to life on screen. Rodriguez's portrayal of Pedro and Salomon's portrayal of Jimi are filled with emotional depth and authenticity, adding a layer of realism to the supernatural events unfolding around them.

From the children to the adults, each character in the film, including the ancillary ones, delivers a compelling performance that adds to the overall atmosphere of fear and tension. The main characters, especially, navigate their roles with a sense of urgency and vulnerability, making their interactions and decisions feel grounded in the face of demonic forces.

The fear, sadness, and regret portrayed by these characters drive the narrative forward, making their decisions relatable and believable. While some decisions were a bit dumb, I did ask myself in the face of all that terror, what would I have done? 

Practical Effects and Visuals

The practical effects used in the movie add a visceral and realistic element to the horror experience. While digital effects are also present, the seamless blend of practical and digital moments creates a cohesive viewing experience. From full-body suits to gory scenes, the practical effects enhance the storytelling, making the horror feel brutal and intense.

Director Damian Rugna's masterful use of practical effects, combined with effective camera work, elevates the visual impact of the film. The attention to detail in the effects work adds to the overall atmosphere of fear and tension. The brutality and violence portrayed in the film serve the narrative, creating a sense of dread and unease that keeps you engaged.

Storytelling and World Building

The storytelling in the movie is dark and bleak, filled with elements of violence and gore that create a truly intense viewing experience. As I delved into the film, I found the characters' decisions to be driven by fear, making them relatable and realistic in the face of supernatural events.

The world-building in the film is subtle yet effective, never looking spoon-feed you. Instead, you are encouraged to decipher the narrative based on character interactions, reactions, and the overall state of the world portrayed in the film. 

The story, while dark and bleak, is brutally simplistic in its premise, adding layers of psychological and emotional complexity through the lens of demonic possession.

The approach to possession and demonic forces in the film is grounded and at times realistic, keeping you guessing and questioning the characters' motives. Fear plays a significant role in driving character decisions, leading to moments of suspense and paranoia that heighten the overall horror experience. 

Character Decisions and Fear Motivation

Character decisions in a horror film can often be a point of contention for viewers. Some may question why certain choices are made or find them unrealistic. But, in When Evil Lurks, fear serves as a driving force behind the characters' decisions. Whether it's the lack of knowledge, emotional distress, or sheer panic, fear motivates their actions throughout the film.

While some characters may make questionable decisions as mentioned above, you also need to consider the emotional state they are in. Fear, sadness, and anger play a significant role in shaping their choices, making them relatable and understandable. The characters' agencies are influenced by the overwhelming sense of dread and paranoia that the demonic forces instill in them.

As viewers, we may find ourselves questioning the characters' motives or actions, but we need to remember that fear can cloud judgment and lead to irrational behavior. In a horror film like this," where supernatural events drive the narrative, fear becomes a powerful motivator that guides the characters through moments of suspense and terror.

Final Verdict

After watching, I was pleasantly surprised by the unique take on the possession genre that the film offered. The brutal practical effects and compelling acting kept me intrigued throughout the movie. While some may find the pacing slow in the beginning, I appreciated how it laid the groundwork for the escalating tension and suspense that followed.

When Evil Lurks a great horror movie that didn't hold back on the violence and gore. The characters' decisions, driven by fear and realistic emotions, made the narrative relatable and engaging. For horror fans looking for a visceral and brutal viewing experience, it is a must-watch, and is the best horror movie of 2023 for my money. A very solid 7.5/10! [When Evil Lurks on IMDB]

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Check out a few of my other horror movie reviews on Horror Movies Nerd.