Why That When Evil Lurks Scene is So Shocking

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Demián Rugna doesn’t like kids. At least, that’s what his movies seem to suggest.

In Terrified and this year’s When Evil Lurks, he displays a disdain for the youth, making his oppressive brand of horror stand out. Nothing is off the table, and in When Evil Lurks, Rugna drives that point home with sickening clarity.

The plot of When Evil Lurks concerns a demonic infestation that is seemingly causing apocalyptic problems for humanity. It’s often hinted that something awful occurred in bigger cities, and the more rural areas have largely got away unscathed. That is until two farmers encounter an example of the infestation and get a little too loose with the rules regarding demons,

And When Evil Lurks does demonic possession and its rules quite differently. Calling it an infestation is no accident; that’s basically how demonic possession is portrayed here. And if proper procedure is not followed, the rot it brings will spread far and wide, tearing apart man, child, animal, and crops alike with cold, malicious glee.

The demons are reminiscent of those in Brian Keene’s book The Rising. They use living things as toys and love to make sadistic games out of their possession. The truth of this becomes concrete in one of the most intense and shocking moments in the film.

When divorced dad Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) realizes that things are escalating, he and his brother Jimi (Demián Salomón) head to his ex-wife’s home to retrieve his children in hopes of escaping the growing madness. But inadvertently, Pedro and Jimi have brought a taste of evil with them, and it finds its way into the family dog.

By this point, we have a fairly clear idea of how demonic possession works in When Evil Lurks. The infected dog wanders in while Pedro bickers fruitlessly with his ex-wife and is cuddled by the young daughter (Lucrecia Niron Talazac). We’re left waiting to see how this will play out, and while the outcome seems somewhat obvious, the stalling Rugna does when the scene appears to be building towards a conclusion is agonizing. Movie history would suggest that a last-minute save is perhaps coming, or if a darker path is being walked, then it will respectfully keep it subtle, unseen, banking up tearful tragedy.

Not When Evil Lurks. Not Rugna. After releasing some of the air from the balloon of tension smothering the scene, Rugna unleashes a blunt and brutal attack on viewers and children alike as the possessed dog makes Cujo look like Lassie.

I’ll spare you the details, but Rugna will not, and that’s exactly why the scene is so effectively shocking. You keep expecting it to cut away, making your mind fill in the blanks with unpleasant noises. It does a little of that but also cuts to the horrifying result of the dog attack.

When Evil Lurks isn’t exactly smiles and sunshine at any other point in its runtime, but nothing drives home the sneering disdain the demon has for humanity quite like that scene.

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