Staunch Test FAIL.
Set in southern Ohio, The Devil All The Time is a mult-generational story that follows several characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. All the families and characters shown in this movie are connected to one another and they have all been impacted by violence and murder in some way or another.
The first part of Antonio Campos’s movie focuses on Willard (Bill Skarsgård) a WWII marine who has to deal with the illness, and later death, of his wife Charlotte (Haley Bennet) while taking care of their son Arvin (Tom Holland). When Arvin becomes an orphan he is sent to live with his grandmother and he is raised together with Lenora (Eliza Scanlen), another orphan girl whose mother was murdered by her bizarre preacher husband who thought he could resurrect the dead. Lenora falls for the new town preacher Reverend Preston (Robert Pattinson) who seduces her and gets her pregnant. Preston blames her for the pregnancy and she kills herself because she doesn’t want to bring shame to her family. Upon learning of his step-sister’s pregnancy, Arvin decides to take law into his own hands, he chooses violence as it’s one of the few things that his father and his life have taught him. There are also a couple of serial killers whose paths intersect with several of the other characters.
It is quite clear just by reading this short summary of the plot that this is not an easy movie to watch. It deals a lot with religion and how people can misinterpret the scriptures and take advantage of their roles and authority.
Its dark themes and disturbing scenes make it seem like a horror movie but it’s not. It never tries to scare its audience nor impress it with special effects, its aim is to tell a complex story involving some well-intentioned people who thought they were doing good and some people who believed they would never have to account for their actions.
As I mentioned earlier there are a lot of gruesome scenes involving violence and death in this movie. The female characters who die or get killed are fewer than the male characters which is unusual in a movie that deals with these kind of themes. However, Leonora and her mother Helen (Mia Wasikowska) die by the hand of men they loved and respected. Leonora is not physically killed by Reverend Preston but she wouldn’t have committed suicide if it wasn’t for his rejection. On the other hand, Helen is undeservedly killed by her clearly mental ill husband, he stabs her in the neck and then hopelessly tries to resurrect her, blaming God for what he did.
The serial killer couple is surprisingly not interested in killing women, they just kill men.
The Devil All The Time is without a doubt a #StaunchTestFail but, given the topic it deals with, it could’ve been much worse.