Stars: Vania Accinelli, Sergio Gjurinovic, Vanessa Saba, Alexa Centurion, Maria Fernanda Valera, Nicolás Galindo, Carla Arriola, Guillermo Castañeda, Javier Valdez, Ismael Contreras | Written by Vanessa Saba | Directed by Frank Perez-Garland
In Face of the Devil, seven friends go on a remote jungle vacation where they are terrorized by a primeval spirit, but as they struggle to survive they come to realize that they brought the demon with them and evil lies within.
Face of the Devil, or La Cara Del Diablo if you want to use its original name, has taught me to add ‘remote jungle hotels run by a single creepy old man’ to my list of places where not to go on holiday. I’ve put it beneath ‘abandoned asylums’ and above ‘orphanages’ just so I don’t forget. It’s a Peruvian film and Spanish is spoken throughout and, unless you’re one of those people who are allergic to subtitles, the film does a good job at ticking all the right horror boxes.
Face of the Devil (my sister’s new nickname, by the way) gets into the meat of the action pretty quickly, which is interesting because a lot of the scarier sections are, by contrast, very slow. The film’s way of building up tension is to have a character walk very slowly towards whatever is hidden just out of sight, be it a scary noise or a suspicious-looking shadow. Now, I have no problem with this. It is a proven technique in a lot of horror films. However, Face of the Devil does this lots of times with lots of characters throughout the film, and by the fourth or fifth time, the fear turns to frustration as the film really draaags iiiit ooooout. You might find your finger hovering over the fast forward button, just to get to the good bits.
As stories go, this film isn’t the most original. By that I mean that it is filled with teenagers who are there to have lots of sex and be pursued by an ancient evil or whatever. Just another standard weekend for a teenager really. That being said, each of the characters in this film is unique in their own way, and the group avoids falling into the trap of obvious stereotyping quite nicely. The result is that Face of the Devil is a very watchable film. It does feel like a story to be told around a campfire at night in the middle of a remote jungle (although I wouldn’t advise it), and is can definitely send a few good shivers down your spine.
Face of the Devil isn’t groundbreaking, but it isn’t terrible either.
Face of the Devil is out now on DVD from Matchbox Films.