In Antonio Campos’s The Devil All the Time, the title speaks for itself with the direction the film starts with once the film begins. The Devil All the Time is chronological with a set of sinister scenarios that impacts one another throughout the film’s timeline. Campos’s theme of religion is the dark and unsettling concept of The Devil All the Time. What makes the film more mesmerizing is the characters that can portray sinister elements. The sinister elements will bring many unexpected surprises.
The Devil All the Time takes place in the rural areas of Ohio and West Virginia. The era is also at the end of World War II around the 1960s. The film introduces us to a variety of twisted characters set after World War II. The film introduces us to Willard Russell (played by Bill Skarsgard), a veteran that is having psychological problems and has a wife that is on the verge of death due to cancer. From there, there is Carl and Sandy Henderson (played by Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), a couple that are serial killers that act as photographers and find people to pose for photos and then they demolish them. A preacher named Roy (played Harry Melling) and his sidekick Theodore (played by Pokey Lafarge) running from the law. A new pastor with a dark side is now a part of the church and he is Preston (played Robert Pattinson). The one though that is the main character in front of all this is Arvin Russell (played by Tom Holland). Arvin is one that grows to be mature, but from his past and having a psychotic father, he is known to have violence in his own self. As he comes to realize the outcomes in his life due to corruption, he grows to put the pieces together and take risks in his own hands.
The Devil All the Time has tons of psychotic characters, but many are just thrown in rather quickly. I felt the new sinister characters were off-putting when they were introduced. Examples of this would be the weird scenarios coming up after the characters being in the film for a generous amount of time for its viewers to have an idea of them. Also, a random murder would just come around out of the blue, when I thought the focus was one or two other elements. Therefore, I felt I had to back track from time to time of why a character decides to be insane. The murders may come up at inconvenient moments, but the acting is superb. Especially with the tension between Holland and Patterson. Both have evil sides that create the tone to expect evil judgment towards one another to happen. Another element that adds to the psychotic behaviors, the undefined murders, and disturbing personalities is religion. That is because many of the characters are insane, but also religious. That made me realize that they feel their beliefs of evil is good, which it is not, and that is why The Devil All the Time challenges the mindsets of its characters.
The Devil All the Time left me with questions. I was also left wondering why the characters made scary choices, but also wondering how it links to their past. That is why I said earlier, some of the unexpected violence was off-putting, because I still ask myself what drives the crazy of some in the film. Regardless of its unprecedented timing, The Devil all the Time is worthy of a viewing. The acting, the cinematography, and the setting all fits to be a ride of terror, tension, political, and a twist of religious beliefs. Three stars for The Devil All the Time.