The Devil Lives Here (O Diabo Mora Aqui) DVD Review

Occult Brazilian horror influenced by Candyman and The Evil Dead

Brazilian folklore is fused with echoes of Candyman in this debut horror film from directors Dante Vescio and Rodrigo Gasparini. The slickly-made The Devil Lives Here (O Diabo Mora Aqui) is an atmospheric thriller from Brazil with occult overtones. Horror label Artsploitation Films has imported the Brazilian film for distribution in its continuing commitment to the global horror market. The Devil Lives Here is another successful import by the label that should scare horror fans with its sinister evil.

Brazilian directors Rodrigo Gasparini and Dante Vescio became known to the horror genre with their short M Is For Mailbox. It was a contest entry for ABCs of Death 2. The Devil Lives Here is their debut horror film and is the first stage of a larger project entitled URBANIA from producer M.M. Izidoro. The film had its world premiere at the Sitges Film Festival in 2015.

The comparisons to Candyman are inevitable for The Devil Lives Here. An evil, sadistic slave owner known as the Honey Baron tortures and kills his slaves in the distant past. His slaves turn on him and revolt, killing him. A curse is placed on the Honey Baron by one of his slaves, preventing his evil spirit from roaming free. Modern descendants of the Honey Baron’s slaves keep the curse in place every nine months, lest the malevolent Honey Baron is freed from the curse to wreak havoc once again. It’s slave folklore with a Brazilian twist.

What drives the movie is Apolo, the current occupant of the remote family farmhouse where the Honey Baron’s spirit is trapped. The young adult invites his three friends over on the exact night the curse is supposed to be renewed. Intended as spooky fun by Apolo, the night becomes a bloody descent into hell for the group.

That maelstrom is saved for a chaotic final act in which everything is thrown at the wall to see what sticks…

The Devil Lives Here is a slow potboiler for its first two acts. We get to know the cast of characters in lucid storytelling. Apolo and his friends are just a group of friends looking for a little, escapist fun. It’s not clear if Apolo truly believes in the folk tales surrounding the Honey Baron and his demonic evil, or he’s simply playing along to scare his friends.

While the film’s atmospheric frights are compelling, it doesn’t move with the same urgency as most bloody slashers. That maelstrom is saved for a chaotic final act in which everything is thrown at the wall to see what sticks, introducing some confusion as to what is going on with each character. What had been a taut, fairly restrained tale of occult suspense becomes a far more visceral slasher. The film’s pacing would have been improved with some rearrangement of that plot structure.

This is a strong debut film for the two filmmakers. Brazil isn’t the first country most think of when it comes to world horror. The Devil Lives Here’s strong cast and slick direction mark it as a quality production worth seeing for horror fans. Mixing slavery, demonic spirits and Brazilian folklore in a potent mix results in a terrifying experience that stands on its own from influences like Candyman and The Evil Dead.

The 77-minute main feature is included in a solid DVD presentation from Artsploitation Films. Both English and English SDH subtitle options are included for the Brazilian movie in Portuguese. Its trailer is provided as a special feature.