In recent years, foreign films have taken the horror genre by storm with such titles as Parasite (2019), Raw (2016), and Veronica (2017). The Argentinian director ‘s 2023 film, When Evil Lurks aims to join the ranks of such foreign films with a new take on possession and a mix of supernatural horror and psychological horror. Where it falls short, though, is the implementation of stale horror tropes (possessed children anyone?) and its reliance on shock and gore to cover for its less-than-stellar plot.


When Evil Lurks (2023)

When Evil Lurks starts with a bang, sucking the audience into its somewhat dystopian landscape immediately. Two brothers stumble across a mutilated corpse in the woods near their house and discover a briefcase of bizarre tools alongside the body. Before they can make heads or tails of this, they find themselves at a ramshackle house containing a family: a mother, a son, and a second son who is a rotten pile of pustules and ooze. The brothers immediately panic and begin searching for help to call in an expert who specializes in dealing with “the Rotten”, but to no avail. What ensues is an almost comedic trip to dealing with him themselves.

It is after this that the movie starts to drag. The plot gets a bit convoluted with needless tension between one of the main characters and his ex-wife, a few irritating kids, and a needless side story about one of the brothers’ past lovers. Furthermore, what could be an interesting genre mash-up of demon possession and blood-and-pus zombie types is, instead, just a confusing mess.


One of the major letdowns of When Evil Lurks is its reliance on tired horror tropes. The small-town setting with a dark secret, the ominous background music, possessed kids, and the predictable jump scares all contribute to a sense of déjà vu, delivering a recycled compilation of horror elements we’ve seen countless times before. The film lacks the innovation needed to stand out in an oversaturated genre.

While When Evil Lurks does have its moments of suspense and several truly remarkable moments of gross-out horror, these are overshadowed by a lack of originality and a failure to bring anything fresh to the horror genre. The film’s potential to explore deeper themes is squandered in favor of recycled scares and a by-the-numbers plot. 


In the end, When Evil Lurks fails to live up to the expectations set by its intriguing premise, leaving horror enthusiasts longing for a more inventive and engaging cinematic experience.

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