Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“When Evil Is Born”: One of the most interesting horror films. Will it divide the audience?

  • “When evil is born” is one of the most anticipated horror films of this year. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes rated it as high as 97%.
  • The inhabitants of a small settlement discover that evil will soon arise among them. Terrified, they try to escape, starting a desperate fight against time. However, it will quickly turn out that they will have to face a real nightmare. No amount of prayer will help them. This is the plot of the film in a nutshell.
  • In the main role we will see the star of the series – Ezequiel Rodriguez. The film will be released in Polish cinemas on March 21.

This is important in times when Hollywood even spoils self-games like “The Exorcist” (with some of the original cast on board), while in the biography of the most famous Vatican exorcist, Father Gabriel Amorth, he casts the lumbering Russell Crowe flying in the air. Deprived of any real belief in the existence of personal evil, infantilely secular Hollywood today feels completely uncomfortable in the subgenre that William Friedkin introduced half a century ago. So filmmakers from Latin countries have to take matters into their own hands (is it the Catholic legacy that makes demonic horror flourish there?), like the Argentinian Rugna, who made a film according to the best rules of possession horror, at the same time putting it in a drawer labeled “apocalypse”. “.

Rugna does not bother with too long exposition and throws us into the middle of a world saturated with evil. Or even Evil. Specific and with a name.

Brothers Pedro (Ezequiel Rodriguez) and Jimmi (Demian Salomon) notice that something disturbing is happening in their neighborhood, which is first sensed by animals. Yes, yes – there will be a classic motif with a goat and a sheep. Everything around is rotting. It is rotting in the literal sense of the word. It begins with the rotting body of one of the farmers, whose family chains him to a bed so that the demon devouring him from the inside cannot escape. Folk wisdom that rational farmers do not understand. They do not know that they are dealing with a kind of Evil One who passes from people to animals and objects (Annabelle bows) and at the right moment attacks people again and “leads them into temptation” to do evil.

This demon is not named here, but as Milton taught about Al Pacino’s face in “The Devil’s Advocate”, it has many names. One of them is Azazel, known for the now forgotten and excellent horror film with Denzel Washington, “In the Net” (1998). As Gregor Hoblit’s film teaches us best, Azazel (in Semitic mythology who was initially the god of the flock and the fallen angel of the goat herds) is trapped in the body of someone who is unable to move and wreak havoc. People, as we know, want simple and quick solutions, so the guns are launched and the demon is released into the air. This is how the apocalypse begins.

Nothing new? Yes, but at this point the world of Rugna begins, which does not take a calculated approach to what the general public will or will not buy. Rules sacred to decision-makers in Hollywood and the Netflix algorithm are trampled on by the impudent Argentine in the first quarter of the film. And then it only gets worse and not even stupider.

Rugna deftly glides between pure apocalyptic horror about possession and allegory, which in the world after the COVID19 plague can be found everywhere. After all, not long ago we were told that we couldn’t trust anyone, and the names of subsequent mutations of the virus, hyped up by the media, took various dark forms. Despite its pessimistic chaos, “When Evil Is Born” gives hope in the form of sacrifice. The supreme sacrifice of the most tiny one, to whom we do not pay attention. Another archetype of Judeo-Christian culture is given a surprising bite. Hope is ultimately the last to die. Even if it is infected with a demonic virus.


“When evil is born” (Cuando acecha la maldado), dir. Demián Rugna, USA, Argentina 2023, distributor: 9th Plan, cinema premiere: March 21, 2024.