If you watch the trailer for The Devil Lives Here, you’ll most likely surmise that it’s a movie about a bunch of kids performing some sort of satanic ritual and accidentally unleashing something demonic from a boarded up room in a basement, which then possesses them and causes them to start attacking each other.
Basically, that is the premise, but this is no Night of The Demons. Simple setup for the sake of getting to all the demonic goodness is not the goal of The Devil Lives Here. In fact, the majority of this movie is about the backstory—this is a slow burning supernatural/occult flick that focuses mainly on the complex details of a curse, a sacrifice, and the side effects of trying to reverse all of it.
The heavy-handed plot delves into the notorious legend of an evil slave owner known as the “Honey Baron.” With bees, honey, slaves, and a racist white bastard all presented in the very first scene, my mind immediately flashed back to Candyman.
We’re then brought to the present. A group of friends comes to stay at the very house in which the Honey Baron lived. The folktale is told, the ritual is performed, and something awakens behind the boards in the basement (instead of performing a satanic ritual, wouldn’t a bunch of curious kid just pull the boards down?).
Then…the movie gets really confusing. One chick hears a voice in her head and begins roaming around with a sickle. A shadowy figure in a cloak darts from shadow to shadow.
Other characters enter the picture and cause conflict with the original group of friends. A gun comes into play. There’s a lot of screaming, people being held captive, and a couple of deaths.
Eventually, another ritual is performed, there are more dots connected concerning the backstory, and finally, someone gets demon eyes and demon teeth. But those teeth don’t even get any chomping action! There’s plenty of chilling atmosphere and lots of ominous anticipation of scares to come, yet even with all the chaos, there’s something frustratingly reserved and controlled about the horror here.
This seeker of cheap horror thrills was left wanting more, but if you’re a fan of complex occult films of the late 70s that were more about the dark, sinister, supernatural story than getting your adrenaline pumping, this one might be quite satisfying to you.