M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Four of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2013 and going through September 30, 2014. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!
How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st, 2013 and September 30, 2014 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number—31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Released on September 2, 2014. Available on digital download, On Demand, and DVD/Blu-ray!
They say man is a social animal. Without contact with others, the mind tends to fray. There’s a theory about schizophrenia. It’s an obscure one, but one that I always thought was interesting. Without contact with others, the mind starts having conversations with itself. The voices a schizophrenic hears is actually one’s mind making up for the lack of social interaction. It’s a chicken and the egg situation as those suffering from schizophrenia are often outcasts to society. They don’t fit in. Is it the mental disorder that makes the person an outcast? Or is it the person who feels cast out and evolves to survive by making up voices to interact with?
As I watched the urban nightmare DEVOURED, I was thinking about all of this. I watched Marta Milans play Lourdes, a cleaning lady in an upscale restaurant who lives alone in a large city and saves every cent she makes to send home to her son in need of an operation in Mexico. This film starts out slow, showing Lourdes banal day to day routines, allowing us get to know her, care for her, and hope that she can find a way to solve this steep problem she faces. In taking this time (roughly half the film) to see Lourdes painfully hold back the tears as she talks to her son on the phone, put up with harassment at work, and go to extreme lengths to make the money she needs, we start to feel for her. Greg Olliver directs with a solid stance from a quiet but powerful script from Marc Landau, cementing the heft and reality of Lourdes’ dire situation.
In doing so, we feel all the more heart-broken as things start getting creepy around the restaurant Lourdes spends so much time in. She starts seeing shapes moving in the trash bags she throws out, mysterious figures appear in the shadows, doors lock and unlock, trapping her in closets then setting her free. Soon Lourdes believes that the restaurant is haunted. With nowhere to go and no one to help her, we feel the desperation as Lourdes tries to work even harder, despite the creepy conditions, so she can get to that ever closer dollar amount that means her reunification with her son.
The weight of this film is on the back of Marta Milans who plays Lourdes. Through simple facial gestures and blinks of her eye, we believe her dire situation and the nightmares she is experiencing. As Lourdes, she experiences a variety of emotions, all of them reeling us in for a shattering conclusion where everything goes sideways and crazy.
DEVOURED is a fantastic film of a city swallowing a lost soul whole. With a powerful performance by Marta Milans, some immersive atmosphere, and some conservative, but powerful scares that crescendo to a deafening level by the end, DEVOURED is an urban horror tale that shouldn’t be missed.
THE 2013-2014 COUNTDOWN!
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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