Cuando acecha la maldad
starring Ezequiel Rodríguez, Demián Salomón, Luis Ziembrowski, Federico Liss
written and directed by Demián Rugna
by Walter Chaw I felt like there was a hand pressing down on my chest during Demián Rugna's When Evil Lurks, a horror film so vicious and uncompromising I wasn't always sure I could finish it. I've seen it three times now, not because I've become desensitized to its lawlessness, but because it's so well-constructed that I'm drawn back to it despite the anxiety it inspires. There's comfort in the thrall of an artist who's in complete control of his medium. When Evil Lurks is Rugna's fifth film, and I don't think it's too soon to declare him an important filmmaker and a true innovator. I've never seen what he does in the horror genre before; I'd call it experimentation, except that it works on a more than theoretical level. Between this and his previous picture, Terrified (2017), he has deconstructed the familiar, reconstituting it into a beast that feels new and dangerous. When I take a shower now, it's not Psycho or The Seventh Victim that comes to mind, it's the long opening sequence of Terrified in which a man traces the source of a strange thumping in the middle of the night to something unspeakable happening to his wife in the bathroom for what must have been hours. There's nothing new about locating terror in intensely personal private spaces, but there's a revolution in having the idea to mate Martyrs with Poltergeist.