Offering a slight twist on the usual teens-go-to-a-cabin-to-get-murdered story, Frank Pérez-Garland’s Face Of The Devil ruins any slight early promise, through bland plotting and bland characters who meet their ends in equally bland ways.
La Cara del Diablo – to give the film’s original title – follows seven friends as they head to a remote jungle complex for a fun-filled weekend. On the first night they are told a spooky story about a demon called “el tenche” who possesses people and forces them to commit various atrocities. And as luck would have it, this whistling demon (it really doesn’t matter why it supposedly whistles, as it actually doesn’t) happens to show up and begin to work its way through the hapless holidaymakers.
As an entry into what is a vastly overcrowded subgenre, Face Of The Devil offers absolutely nothing new, and even fails at making routine and formulaic horror tropes interesting. There is a member of the group with a dark past, some unrequited love, strange exposition-delivering locals, a little nudity; all the boxes are ticked, but they are ticked in such an uninspiring and unimaginative way as to be simply boring. Long, drawn out scenes obviously designed to develop some tension are instead tedious in the extreme, and the deaths themselves also offer little to sate the appetites of the modern horror fan. Some malevolently murky water and a little off-camera butchery does not a slasher film make, and coupled with ineffective implementation of the “quiet, quiet…BANG” style of filmmaking, Face Of The Devil really does disappoint on virtually every level.
The only interesting thing then about Pérez-Garland’s film is why was it even made at all? No one ever sets out to produce a bad film but there is something so weary and repetitive about Face Of The Devil, as though the filmmakers never really believed in what they were making.
Sadly, this is a film to avoid. With so many average-to-decent horror films on release, whatever your streaming platform of choice, life really is too short for the bad ones. Although, in truth, Face Of The Devil isn’t actually bad, it’s just really, really dull.
FACE OF THE DEVIL / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: FRANK PÉREZ-GARLAND / SCREENPLAY: VANESSA SABA / STARRING: VANIA ACCINELLI, SERGIO GJURINOVIC, VANESSA SABA / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE TBA