The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
The Devil All The Time is a delightfully bleak and traumatic tale revolving around the idea of faith. The film is draining, as every character seems to have the worst eventually come to them, but it’s the idea behind each and how the circumstances are brought about that keeps you intrigued to the bitter end.
This is my first encounter with director Antonio Campos and it is an outstanding first impression. The Devil All The Time is a lengthy feature and you'll feel every second of it pass by, but that's not particularly a bad thing. Every second is proceedingly more tense than the next, with the audience never quite knowing where the story is going to take us. There's a scene in the first act of the film that centers around a dog's death; it's something that could have been highly disturbing, but the director chooses to use this component of the story swiftly and move on before the actions even fully click with the viewer. Campos is clearly a talented filmmaker, showcasing his talent as an indie director to an immaculate degree with tasteful violence, sexually charged violence, and intense drama.
Due to jumping around in time to reinforce the narrative’s intensity, if you're not paying attention, you'll quickly lose interest. However, if you remain content in viewing it from beginning to end without distraction, you'll find one of the best written and emotionally draining films in some time. I've never had the opportunity to read the book it's based on, but going in with no knowledge of the source material or the filmmaker involved, I was astounded by the impassioned nature of the storytelling. The Devil All The Time is a slow burn worth the excruciating challenges our characters are forced to go through.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The trailer mentions every key actor in the film, but it’s Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland that take the limelight. For those going in for just those two actors, prepare for a long first act without them, but for those neutral to the idea of a film without them, the first act is a sinister look at the world around us and the ideals of personal faith that drive home some of the worst trauma. There may not be a Holland or Pattinson in the first act, but it's Bill Skarsgård, best known for his portrayal as Pennywise the Dancing, Clown, that leads the way with a daring and emotional performance. The entire cast delivers exceptional performances, and for many, their best performance to date. The narrator is a crucial component to assist the characters in their passage to the next set of distressing circumstances.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
'The Devil All The Time' Is A Delightfully Bleak
Cinematographer Lol Crawley seems to be very comfortable with creating beautiful period piece shots. Crawley and Campos have created a grim film with a dull gray palette but expanded upon the color tone to make for an enlightening experience that signifies just how unreasonable the world can be, especially in a world with infinite definitions of faith. The costume design, as well as prop design, perfectly set the time we are residing in and made a story that almost resembles a true tale passed down through generations.
The Devil All The Time (2020) | NETFLIX
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The film is subtle with its score until it wants to convey a larger display of emotion. The film's decision to more often than not keep the score to a minimum really helps draw out the tense nature of many scenes, especially a scene within a church that amps up the volume as the intensity of the scene skyrockets. The composing duo of Danny Bensi and Saunder Juriaans brought a refined touch to an already phenomenal film.
The Devil All The Time is almost guaranteed to not be everyone’s cup of tea. Its intense depressing tone may drive some away, and a quick gruesome shot of a mutilated animal may do just as much damage, but if you're able to see past that and become enthralled into the story at hand, you'll find one of the best character driven period pieces in some time.