Aug 16, 2013

The Devil Knows His Own – 2013 – Something I had not expected!

Director: Jason Hawkins

I had not expected this flick to be so well acted and to be filled with such genuine scares. It may not be true for every single shot and the actor won’t get any academy awards for their work but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something this scary coming out from a low budget film. There are plenty of films that try to be scary and use gallons of blood to achieve the effect, this one doesn’t! To tell you the truth it’s kind of a relief that the main thing this flick is built on is suspense. I’ve always loved suspense and all the best horror movies in history is based on suspense, not gore! I’m so glad this is old school in that sense!

The story revolves about these couple of siblings that inherits a house from their grandmother. They don’t have a lot of happy memories from her to say the least. In fact, all they have is memories of her molesting and abusing them, both physical and psychologically. She had them carry masks of their faces and even constantly told them that they were unwanted since their mother disappeared. All these memories comes back when they visits the old house once more for the funeral arrangements. They are both grown up now but still so very fragile and on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Some of the elements could be interpreted as exploitation, such as the sister being a lesbian and married to another woman. But it’s not like that at all, it just seems totally natural. It may have something to with the grandmother’s abuse of course as we learn that the sister has been “sewn up” during childhood. Is this a statement in the debate of genital mutilation? Could be, but it doesn’t matter if this is the intent or not. What do YOU think? There are no really sexual scenes to be found, almost no topless shooting and that kind of stuff. This movie doesn’t get caught in that trap!

The brother on the other hand have had drug related problems and guess what, he’s hooked up with a junkie. She’s on a cleaning up program with medication and stuff but still a problem child just like him. I think this could be an example right out of reality! And you could use this as a way to build the movie too. Visions caused by abstinence. But it doesn’t go their either, just for a short visit. It’s a bit cleverer than that and more like the classic suspense horror movies. Lots of inspiration may have come from The Amityville Horror since there’s a haunted house in the center of the story, I don’t know. Certain are that the stories have similarities.

There are excellent choices of music throughout the movie. Almost at all occasions it emphasizes on the suspense. A small minus is maybe that there also are segment where there should have been music. Silence is a great way of delivering suspense too but it’s hard to get it to work if the story isn’t absolutely top notch and by that I mean absolute masterpieces like Michael Hanekes Funny Games, the kind of stories that comes out in a movie maybe once or twice every year and no more. Extremely uncommon in other words!

The ending sequence is really something extraordinaire! Everything that the film has built up to that point gets released and we, the audience, stand amazed! After that the imagery is so arranged that we get something to think about too. A film that manages to do this properly is unusual, but this one nails it. I have no idea what to make of the final scene. It makes me wonder…


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