Brazilian American filmmaker Antonio Campos knows how to intensify a scene. His last film, 2016’s Christine, the true story of 1970s reporter Christine Chubbuck who killed herself on live TV, was a powder keg of painful emotion.
In his newest film, the mid-western gothic thriller The Devil All the Time, which hit Netflix on Wednesday (September 16), Ramos, who serves as the director and co-writer, utilizes an impressive ensemble cast to tell a dark, sprawling, nonlinear story set across two generations in small-town Ohio.
The main narrative, which doesn’t come until the second half of the film, revolves around Arvin (Tom Holland), a young man with a dark family past, who butts heads with an egomaniacal preacher (Robert Pattinson). Interwoven within that story, viewers will find everything from a married pair of serial killers to unusual religious rituals.
Along with Holland and Pattinson, the film, which is co-written by Campos’ brother Paulo, stars Bill Skarsgård (It), Riley Keough (American Honey), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and Eliza Scanlen (Little Women). The film is narrated by Donald Ray Pollock, who wrote the original book of the same name.
So far, reviews have been mixed. Mike Reyes of CinemaBlend says the film “slips through the cracks and into the lukewarm waters of mediocrity.” Meagan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting says the film is “a hard-boiled, blood-soaked story full of unsettled mood and unrelenting dread.”
If that doesn’t sound like a fun-filled Friday night during a pandemic, we don’t know what does.