Spoilers follow ...
- Face of the Devil review by NP
A group of seven beautiful young people go on a sun-kissed jungle vacation, which means lots of pristine skin and pearly white teeth. With this being a Spanish production, if you can bare the sight of such perfection, these characters are unaffected by the swagger and posturing attitude that continues to blight many horror films of this nature: they’re likeable, and the relationships with each other are real and even appealing. Vania Accinelli is particularly appealing as Lucero, constantly plagued by bad dreams and memories of a childhood that suggests an unspecific demonic abuse at the hands of her mother. As a result, her father initially forbids her to go on the trip with her associates.
Also very good is Ismael Contreras as Encargado, the creepy-eyed owner of the picturesque location. Without ever over-playing, Contreras lets us know Encargado has secrets, and on this occasion appears to have unleashed more than he bargained for.
With no real gore to speak of (until perhaps, the final reel), this is a film about atmosphere rather than jump-scares. When horrible things happen to the characters, it isn’t dwelt upon – the fact is, you like these people and don’t want them to die. Director Frank Pérez-Garland ensures the rolling locations are both a paradise and a prison. I really enjoyed this. The story may have been done before, or at least variations of it, but at least here, it is approached in a refreshing way.
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