‘The Devil All The Time’ Review: Tom Holland leads all-star cast in glum, aimless portrait of tarnished America

This review was first published on KENS5.com, and can be viewed here.

I’m having a hard time remembering the last time I saw a movie with such a broad carousel of loathsome characters as those who inhabit the rotten backwoods of Antonio Campos’s aptly named “The Devil All The Time.” A rabid dog of a drama with a charred worldview, the film’s menacing personalities kill, subdue and corrupt with such ease that they’re hardly rendered as personalities at all. They make the devious Thrombey clan of “Knives Out” seem like the Brady Bunch, and journeying through this sliver of tarnished American heartland is enough to make you recite 15 Hail Mary’s as soon as the credits roll…if not when a pastor dumps a jar of spiders onto his face in the movies’ wildest sermon since Paul Dano exorcised his demons in “There Will Be Blood.”

Taking its cues from the intergenerational storytelling of “The Place Beyond the Pines” and the brutal instincts of a Jeremy Saulnier joint (but lacking the gut-punch sophistication of either), “The Devil All The Time” sharpens piety into something perversely hypocritical: The delusion that one’s godly devotion is another’s excuse to pursue heinous acts. Robert Pattinson’s salacious Pastor Teagardin twists ostensible enlightenment into convincing a young girl to undress herself in his car, sparking a long chain of bloody vengeance that’s the closest thing to dramatic momentum steering an otherwise aimless story.

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Review: ‘It’ a thrilling, if flawed, big-budget horror offering

There hasn’t been very much in the way of blockbuster horror lately.

Instead it’s been a tale of two extremes for the genre; either we’ve had the student film-esque, cheap scare formula made popular by Paranormal Activity that resides in cheese territory, or arthouse offerings like It Follows and The Witch with subtext that is sometimes scarier than anything manifested onscreen.

The Conjuring comes closest to representing a compromise of the two sub-genres, with its sense of bigger-scale, crowd-pleasing terror that doesn’t forget about the importance of character. Continue reading →