“You Will Be Devoured…”
Director: Greg Oliver
Cast: Marta Milans, Kara Jackson, Bruno Gunn
Synopsis: Lourdes is a young woman that works at night cleaning a restaurant. All the money she made is for her son that lives in her hometown with her mother.
Lourdes (Marta Milans) is a single mother living in New York where she works as a cleaner in a restaurant in order to raise enough money to pay for her sick son’s operation. Uh-oh. Pay for her sick son’s operation? What is this, 1923? Never mind — try getting over this outdated and melodramatic plot device because Devoured deserves your attention, even though it’s the type of horror movie that will prove to be a big turn off for many fans of the genre.
You get the impression that Lourdes is capable of better things, that the work she does is way beneath her abilities, which leads us to suspect she might be an illegal immigrant, particularly as the owner and the chef of the restaurant in which she works both treat her like dirt. She works hard, but the pay is poor, and she fears that she’ll never get together the money she needs for her son’s operation. That is until one day, when a male customer accosts her in the toilets and practically forces her to perform fellatio on him after laying down a few bills on the counter. After overcoming her initial disgust, Lourdes, who isn’t without her womanly charms, comes to realise that luring men into her toilet could actually prove quite lucrative as long as she’s careful about who she picks.
But then Lourdes starts seeing things — strange, unsettling things — as she goes about her job. A bag full of rubbish waiting to be placed on the street begins to move and writhe as if it contains a living body; a strange corpselike man begins popping up in the unlikeliest of places; she watches herself sleep in the mirror behind the bar while the reflection of her son turns into a demon as he strokes her hair. On top of that, she discovers a concealed door at the back of a makeshift wine cellar behind which lurks something grisly that we’re not permitted to see. Even worse, the loutish chef, who prepares the food each day without washing his hands or wearing gloves, begins making a move on her.
Devoured is a slow-moving movie that works hard at creating an ominous and forbidding atmosphere while, for the most part, steering clear of the cheap tricks to which so many horror movies resort in order to scare its audience. Director Greg Oliver and writer Marc Landau are more interested in instilling a deep sense of dread in its audience rather than scaring it into spilling its popcorn, and it’s clear that they are heavily influenced by the Asian horror movies of the late 1990s and early 2000s —that body in a bag trick, for example, was first seen in Takashi Miike’s Audition way back in 1999.
Spanish actress Marta Milans appears in almost every scene, and she is spectacularly good in the part, capturing a convincing mix of steel and vulnerability that has the audience pulling for her even when she feels obliged to do things which many of us would find morally — and physically — reprehensible. And while the ending might create as many mysteries as it solves, it still somehow manages to leave us relatively satisfied with the outcome.