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When Evil Lurks” (Spanish: Cuando acecha la maldad) is a 2023 supernatural horror film written and directed by . This international co-production between Argentina and the United States stars Ezequiel Rodríguez, Demián Salomón, , , and .

The film begins with brothers Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) and Jaime (Demián Salomón) hearing gunshots in the nearby woods. Investigating, they find half of a man's body and are led to a nearby shack where they meet María Elena (Isabel Quinteros) and her two sons. María Elena's eldest son, Uriel, has become a Rotten, a being possessed by an unborn demon. The body was that of a Cleaner, sent by María Elena to kill Uriel and abort the demon.

Authorities dismiss the supernatural threat, so the brothers turn to the landowner Ruiz (), who tries to remove Uriel by dumping him outside his land. After a close call with a young boy on the road, they lose Uriel from the truck. Ruiz, believing the problem solved, returns home, only for his pregnant wife, Jimena (Desirée Salgueiro), to find a possessed goat. Despite warnings, Ruiz shoots the goat, leading to his brutal murder by Jimena, who then commits suicide.

Pedro and Jaime decide to flee the town with their families. Jaime picks up their mother, while Pedro goes to his ex-wife Sabrina's (Virginia Garófalo) house to collect his children, Jair (Emilio Vodanovich) and Santino (). An argument ensues, and the family dog, previously contaminated by demonic muck, attacks Vicky (Lucrecia Nirón Talazac), Sabrina's daughter. The situation escalates, leading Pedro to steal a car and witness Sabrina and Vicky's deaths in a crash.

Reuniting, Pedro, Jaime, and their mother seek refuge at the house of Mirta (Silvina Sabater), a former Cleaner. Mirta warns Jaime about Jair showing signs of possession, which Jaime dismisses. Meanwhile, the possessed Sabrina kidnaps Santino, leading to a desperate chase. Jaime finds Santino dead and kills Sabrina in his grief, crashing his car.

Pedro and Mirta's search for Uriel leads them to a schoolhouse of possessed children. While Pedro attempts to unearth Uriel, the children kill Mirta and dismantle their equipment. Enraged, Pedro kills Uriel but is too late to prevent the demon's birth. The new demon spares Pedro and leaves with the children.

Pedro, Jaime, and Jair return home, only for Jaime to discover that their mother has been killed. Jair, now possessed, reveals his true nature by choking on and expelling their mother's hair. Pedro, devastated, collapses outside in grief.

Review:

“When Evil Lurks” received critical acclaim for its intense atmosphere, innovative storytelling, and strong performances. Director is praised for his ability to blend horror with psychological tension, creating a film that is both terrifying and thought-provoking. The performances of Ezequiel Rodríguez and Demián Salomón are particularly noted for their emotional depth and authenticity, adding layers of complexity to the characters' struggles against a supernatural evil.

Plot: The plot of “When Evil Lurks” intricately weaves together the lives of a small town's residents as they confront an ancient demonic threat. The discovery of a demonic presence in the body of Uriel sets off a chain of events that exposes the townspeople to unimaginable horrors. The film explores themes of familial duty, supernatural menace, and the lengths individuals will go to protect their loved ones.

Awards:

  • Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2023: Premiered in the “Midnight Madness” section.
  • Blood Window Screenings Award: Won during an early market screening at Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires.

Popularity:

“When Evil Lurks” quickly garnered a strong following upon its release, praised for its chilling narrative and effective horror elements. The film's success at TIFF and its subsequent release by IFC Films and on Shudder helped it reach a wide international audience, solidifying its status as a standout horror film of 2023.

Cast:

  • Ezequiel Rodríguez as Pedro Yazurlo
  • Demián Salomón as Jaime “Jimi” Yazurlo
  • Silvina Sabater as Mirta
  • as Armando Ruiz
  • as Santino Yazurlo
  • Emilio Vodanovich as Jair Yazurlo
  • Virginia Garófalo as Sabrina
  • Paula Rubinsztein as Sara
  • Lucrecia Nirón Talazac as Vicky
  • Isabel Quinteros as María Elena Gómez
  • Desirée Salgueiro as Jimena Ruiz
  • Federico Liss as Leonardo “Leo”

Production:

The screenplay for “When Evil Lurks” won the Runner Up Prize at the 2021 Sitges Pitchbox. Produced by Shudder and La Puerta Roja, the film is Shudder's first Spanish-language production. Filming took place in 2022.

Release:

The film premiered at TIFF on September 13, 2023, and was released theatrically by IFC Films on October 6. It later debuted on Shudder on October 27.

 

Directed by
Written by
Starring
Cinematography Mariano Suárez
Edited by Lionel Cornistein
Production
companies
Distributed by
  • IFC Films
  • Shudder
  • BF Paris S.R.L. (Arg.)
Release dates
  • September 13, 2023 (TIFF)
  • October 6, 2023 (United States)
  • November 9, 2023 (Argentina)
Running time
99 minutes
Countries
  • Argentina
  • United States
Language Spanish

 

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