18th Oct2013

31 Days of Horror: ‘Devoured’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Marta Milans, Kara Jackson, Bruno Gunn, Tyler Hollinger, Sal Rendino, David Conley, Luis Harris | Written by Marc Landau | Directed by Greg Olliver

Devoured

I’d heard of Greg Olliver, the director of Devoured through his work on the documentary Lemmy back in 2010, so was interested in what this, a horror film, would be like.

First off, the film has an immediate atmosphere to it, which put me in a good mood immediately. A feeling of ominous uncertainty from the get-go is always a welcome thing to run into when beginning to watch something you know little about prior to seeing it. Some might say that this is a slow moving film, but a slow build of tension is what is needed and I feel like it works really well here. It spends time with characters and allows us to see into their lives and their psyche.

It also has a sinister feel to it at times, putting the viewer on the edge of their chair and using silence, and its simplistic score, to force a sense of discomfort on certain scenes.

Devoured begins with a police officer standing over the lifeless body of a girl, a girl who we then find ourselves following the life of as we go back in time to when she wasn’t laying beneath a detectives gaze. We see the struggles and hardships of this woman, named Lourdes, a Mexican immigrant, as we follow her at work and at home and dealing with her life. It’s these scenes, where we are following the woman doing mundane chores, that the tension reaches disturbing heights.

I loved the unpredictable nature of this movie, the way that is slowly builds and allows the viewer to ask questions and wonder what is going on. It’s a vast change from other “horror” flicks that are making the rounds at the moment, and that is definitely a good, or great, thing. Some might find fault with the films refusal to be linear, though I like that about it too.

The main protagonist, Lourdes, is played wonderfully by Marta Milans. She is very good at being subtle with her facial expressions and reactions to certain situations that in some movies might result in over-the-top “scream-queening”. Her ability to show fear, madness and anxiety is at times flawlessly done.

It isn’t a traditional horror film, in fact Devoured is so unlike other horror films that it feels more comfortable to call it a thriller perhaps, but either way it is a fresh premise and well executed, sometimes intangible, absorbing piece of work. I hope that the director chooses to do more in the dark thriller genre, because he has proficiency for tension that isn’t as easy to find as some might think. Call it psychological thriller, call it horror, call it art-house, I just call it a very good film that surprised me with its top notch narrative, tone and performances.

Devoured is available on DVD and Blu-ray now, through Matchbox Films.

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