Where the Devil Roams (2023)

Where the Devil Roams (2023) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: Where the Devil Roams
Year: 2023
Country: USA
Director: John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser
Main cast: Toby Poser, Zelda Adams, John Adams, Sam Rodd
Runtime: 93 minutes
Production company: Wonder Wheel Productions


The Adams Family, and I don’t mean the popular The Addams Family (1964–1966) TV series or any of their remakes or new adaptations but the filmmaking team formed by the writers, producers, actors, and directors John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser, have done it again. What started as basically films created and starring both of the parents and both of the daughters and winning some awards in several minor film festivals like Rumblestrips (2013), Knuckle Jack (2014), and Halfway to Zen (2016), started to gain some recognition with The Deeper You Dig (2019) premiering at the Fantasia International Film Festival and also taking part of FrightFest, Fantastic Fest, and the Sitges Film Festival. But the group made a qualitative step forward when the smaller of the sisters Zelda Adams became part of the creative process being added as the co-writer and co-director of the astonishing Hellbender (2021) [read our review here] and their latest work to date, Where the Devil Roams (2023).

Their new movie has many elements seen in the Adams Family‘s previous films, especially Hellbender (2021), such as black magic, a contempt for Christianity, evil horror, and a close family that remains united no matter what obstacles they get on their way, only this time the bet is higher and as the crafts also are. The story is more solid than any of their films before, the budget has increased allowing them to exhibit bigger amounts of violence, gore, practical and digital effects, and a collection of locations and props that separate them from their early evidenced amateur works. Overall, everything is bigger, better, and eviler.

Not only the execution of the film will be an enjoyable ride for the lovers of the darker horror films but the plot is a display of originality, strange twists, and delicious surprises. The real-life father, mother, and daughter play a carny family who travel around the United States with their decadent carnival show in the Depression era. They are a pretty pathetic side-act completely obscured by the first dish of the show, a strange man who calls himself Mr. Tipps who has some amusing supernatural powers camouflaged as entertainment magic. But one day the tables turn and our favorite family will be the owner of the dark powers turning their once lame-ass performance into a must-see act of music and horror. Also, since the family is on the circus tour, the film becomes a road movie where the three of them cross states and pass towns in their little automobile having all kinds of adventures, meeting strange people, and spreading death and violence through their route.

I have to say I liked everything about Where the Devil Roams (2023). There is no point in mentioning the fantastic chemistry of the three main actors, the family of freaks, and the story is captivating and dark in equal amounts. In visual terms they have managed to imprint the stench of the times where the action develops with gritty and nasty imaginary, the music is atmospheric dark doom metal folk that evokes the works of Chelsea Wolfe, and the abundant violent sequences are more than generous with gore and evilness. All the ingredients we want and need for a horror movie of this caliber.

I am sorry, mister Rob Zombie, but perhaps you are not the king of carny-horror anymore.

We are not yet at the equator of this year’s Sitges Film Festival but Where the Devil Roams (2023) is already one of the best movies I have seen in these intense days of cinema, the big congregation of horror fans, vermouth, and an outraging criminal sun for October. As the spinning newspaper shown in the movie says, “gruesome family steals the show”. In competition for the New Visions Award as Best Motion Picture, I have serious doubts another title can be enough of an opponent for the Adams to raise as the winners.

RATE: 7/10

IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt26681671