HomeHorror Brutal 'Talk to Me' Might Be Best of 2023

[REVIEW] Brutal ‘Talk to Me’ Might Be Best of 2023

After presenting two earlier movies at Fantasia Festival (“The Deeper You Dig” in 2019 and “Hellbender” in 2021), the Adams family was back to present the world premiere of their latest project: “Where the Devil Roams”.

‘Where the Devil Roams’ Movie Still

In the extremely difficult context of the Depression-era, the small family consisting of Seven (John Adams), Maggie (Toby Poser) and Eve (Zelda Adams) travel the land as circus performers; a withering and dying art.

The trio’s act consists of the daughter singing while her parents set in motion a choreography that goes along with her melody. Between shows, they roam from region to region, looking for a cheap place to stay at. Wherever they go, however, they ruthlessly leave a trail of corpses behind them.

One day, Eve is mesmerized by the act of another circus’ performer (Sam Rodd) who resorts to black magic to execute his gruesome trick. After revealing his secret to her, she steals his essential shadow realm relic. From that moment, darkness truly sets itself upon their family.

‘Where The Devil Roams’

The Adams family is renown in the independent circuit for writing, directing and starring in their own movies as a family. They sometimes incarnate characters who are allies, and other times, foes. In “Where the Devil Roams”, which is the first to be set in the past, they actually perform as who they are; a family. Their characters each have their own particularities in regards to violence, blood and mutism, making each one unique and interesting to observe. 

‘Where The Devil Roams’

No one can deny the talented eye that John, Toby and Zelda have for exquisite cinematography (they actually won the “Best Cinematography” award at this year’s Fantasia Festival). The intriguing camera angles; the beautiful landscapes; the cold and greyish tones, reflecting the life-draining Depression-era are all examples of how visually striking or mesmerizing they can transform the silver screen for the audience. 

In addition to these captivating qualities, “Where the Devil Roams” is the first of the Adams family’s films to have some truly stunning effects in regards to the gore of the carnage the main characters leave behind. In what seems to be a harmonious marriage between practical effects and CGI, there are some dead bodies whose mutilations are quite awe-inspiring and grisly, at once.

‘Where The Devil Roams’

There are downfalls to this film, unfortunately. At times, as much from some main characters as from secondary ones, the acting seems forced, rehearsed, and unnatural. Some scenes, as visually stunning as they may be, seem to drag on for far too long, draining the interest from the audience in the context of the moment.

To add to this, the script, as enticing as it may seem within the first few minutes, seems to run in circles before the culmination point of the movie. Sure, the item that instills its dark magic and changes the laws of reality adds to the storyline, yet the family just roams from victim to victim without a true purpose, problematic or antagonist at hand. The plot feels aimless and hollow. There are no emotions, positive or negative, evoked from the audience in regards to an imminent danger, a destructive antagonist, or anything that captivates viewers’ attention for more than a few minutes at a time.

‘Where The Devil Roams’

“Where the Devil Roams” deserves to be seen, nonetheless, for its appealing cinematography and its breathtaking effects on its corpses. As much as there are signs of improvements throughout the Adams family’s film history, there is still an amateurish feel that resides within their movie-making. “Hellbender” remains their best film, for now. This one, however, receives the score of 3 eyeballs out of 5.

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