The film’s first act is a torrent of dialogue. Seeming to drop in occasionally from another movie, Jack's best friend Shanda (Daveigh Chase) tries to console her grieving pal with pot and trips to a dance club.
Such songs allow us, no matter how insignificant we may often assume ourselves to be, to momentarily feel bigger. The sequence could pass as a riff on Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find as much as Oates’s harrowing short story, a confrontation with a cosmic sort of nihilism as much as the allegorical embodiment of men’s potential for danger. These disparate approaches collide in a moving scene where Bol, after being confronted by spirits dwelling in his house, yet still in denial about their presence, burns his and Rial’s old belongings.
Relationship experimentation and drug abuse distract, yet the real issue here is Jack’s discovery of gruesome family secrets. Stanley (Charlie Hunnam) is talking of the success he and his brother, Lion (Jack O’Connell), will one day enjoy, while Lion tries to sleep and gather his energy for an upcoming bareknuckle fight. Once you get past the faux-provocation of the film’s title, it’s difficult to tell what ideologies the filmmakers are trying to skewer. Culkin’s talents are widely abused by Dekker’s constantly-shifting struggle, arguably towards the lead actor’s benefit. Murnau’s Nosferatu?
Jack’s shoulder chip slumps down when he receives word of a grotesque car accident that beheaded his father. A rich political allegory disguised as an art-house spooker, The Devil’s Backbone hauntingly ruminates on the decay of country whose living are so stuck in past as to seem like ghosts. This surrealist horror film concerns a couple, Elin (Ylva Gallon) and Tobias (Leif Edlund), whose daughter, Maja (Katrina Jakobson), dies from food poisoning, on her birthday no less, while the family is in a hospital for Elin’s own food-related ailment.
The film’s most distinctive sequences depict the world from a wolf’s-eye view—or, rather, a wolf’s nose, as shimmering, colorful streaks of scent trails show how the transformed Robyn navigates the forest on all fours.
By brazenly conflating religious and sexual hysteria, and depicting both with his characteristic lack of restraint, Russell pushes his already edgy material into places that are so intense and discomforting that the film was subsequently banned in several countries and is to this day still unavailable on home video in a complete and uncut version. Mistaking Andy for Jack, Damian drowned Andy to stop Jack’s crying. Whether or not the answer surprises us during these cynical times, the aftermath is as disarming as it is disturbing. Teresa explains that 19-year-old Luke was Jack’s babysitter. After the film’s young characters wake up from being gassed in their sleep and find themselves strapped into impenetrable explosive vests, Mr. Peterson promptly gives his victims the obligatory rundown of his plan. The story, which concerns a black woman gradually discovering that a charitable offer from her dead white beau’s family conceals a plot to kidnap, exploit, and possibly kill her, is redolent of Get Out.