Friday, December 1, 2023

‘Everyone Will Burn’ Review – A Vibrant, Violent Fable of Biblical Prophecy and Religious Mania

The familiar proverb “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind in director David Hebrero‘s Everyone Will Burn, a stunning technicolor horror fable set in contemporary Spain. A small town’s attempts to thwart an apocalyptic prophecy instead unwittingly fester over forty years before the film’s events, creating seismic repercussions in the present.

Hebrero, who co-wrote with Javier Kiran, is less interested in the prophecy itself and more in how the concept of evil turns the town inside out. In Hebrero and lead actor Macarena Gómez’s capable hands, Everyone Will Burn offers a devilishly compelling depiction of religious mania run amok.

Everyone Will Burn

After the opening text explains the town prophecy, Everyone Will Burn introduces María José (Gómez, HBO’s ‘30 Coins‘) right as she’s preparing to step off a ledge and end her pain. She’s stopped by the sudden arrival of a strange girl, Lucía (newcomer Sofía García), caked in muck. María quickly finds herself a reluctant caretaker to Lucía, even more so when the girl reveals a sadistic streak and supernatural abilities that suggest she may be a harbinger of the town’s foretold doom. Complicating matters is that María has been ostracized from the town for years since the tragic suicide of her son Lolo. That Lucía reminds María of her lost son creates a strange kinship as the town unravels in the wake of her arrival.

Gómez has the near-impossible task of playing a lead character like María and handles it with impressive nuance and range despite the unrelenting emotional intensity demanded. María is an atypical protagonist; she keeps a firm grip on her grief, unwilling to let it subside to the detriment of everything. From the moment she appears on screen, María lets her raw pain and rage loose upon anyone and everyone. She’s a raging volcano constantly on the precipice of eruption. The physicality to maintain such a high level of emotions impresses, even more so that Gómez prevents her character from becoming grating or unsympathetic. Her tragic nature becomes empathetic instead.

That’s helped by Hebrero spending time fleshing out her position within the town and her estranged relationships, especially with her ex-husband David (Rodolfo Sancho). María may be dramatic to an almost nihilistic degree, but it’s tough not to feel for her when the town’s denizens can be so hostile and cruel. Lucía’s enigmatic nature and mean streak only fuels the hostility, like a sudden pour of gasoline on flames.

Lucia and Maria

It’s that peculiar bond between two seemingly lost and lonely souls- María and Lucía – that serves as the grounding throughline in an increasingly bizarre journey. Hebrero dangles biblical horror behind a gauntlet of horror set pieces, exaggerated drama, black comedy, fantasy, and meticulous character. It’s a pressure cooker scenario told in a dreamy, technicolor style, presenting a cautionary fairy tale of piety and intolerance. 

There’s no real pressure release valve for María, and therefore none for the audience. As the complications, obstacles, and torment pile on, the battle between good and evil gets increasingly blurred, but it also can become tiresome in stretches. Hebrero gets a little too effective at driving home how much María’s suffering lays largely at the feet of those around her as much as her stubborn unwillingness to let go, just a little. The good news is that it builds toward a third act that removes the shackles from all involved, leading to one violent spectacle of a finale. Betrayals and revelations lead to one of the more satisfying climaxes, not just for its emotional resonance and artistic staging but in the gratification of seeing of the town’s worst get a proper comeuppance.

Everyone Will Burn takes care to showcase the pain and suffering that “good” can inflict and how it begets evil, creating a beguiling fable that leaves you gleefully rooting against the cruelly intolerant.

Everyone Will Burn opens in select theaters December 1 and will be available on Digital on December 5.

3.5 out of 5

The post ‘Everyone Will Burn’ Review – A Vibrant, Violent Fable of Biblical Prophecy and Religious Mania appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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