I am going to come right out and say it, Devoured is a cracking little film that you should certainly take the time out to see. It’s a taught psychological thriller that is a rare foray into features for Greg Olliver, better known for his documentary work. I for one will be the first in line if he decides to venture back into horror.
Lourdes (Marta Milans) works as a cleaner at night in a small New York City restaurant, sending most of her small earnings back home to pay for her sick sons operation. The palpable loneliness of the big city, a poisonous boss (Kara Jackson) and a sexually aggressive chef (Tyler Hollinger) begin to grind Lourdes down; she begins to experience strange happenings in the restaurant at night and becomes convinced that the restaurant is haunted. Her only comforts come from phone calls to her son and a friendly face in the form of Bruno Gunn’s Frankie – an off duty fireman who, occasionally, keeps her company in the restaurant at night.
Marta Milans shoulders most of the feature by herself and does a sterling job portraying the solitude and paranoia that begin to devour Lourdes, along with the strength needed to be so far from her son for the greater good. The film follows her gradual descent into madness, born out of the unearthly sights and sounds she encounters throughout the restaurant, ending with a crashing crescendo. Devoured is a slow film, but is all the more powerful for it.
The plot is allowed to breathe and unravel with unnerving monotony – as certain as night follows day, Lourdes never misses work, even in the face of the increased visions at night.
There are a few scares and jumps along the way that caught this seasoned horror viewer out. One scene in the wine cellar really knocked me off guard. Shadowy figures, strange noises and the claustrophobic bowels of the restaurants kitchen are all used to great effect. The building is as much a character as any in the film.
I have been purposely economic with details whilst writing this review. Devoured will be most rewarding when watched with very little knowledge going in, just be assured that you will embark on one woman’s harrowing tale of devotion to her son that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the duration – unless you find yourself a few inches above it of course.