"The Devil All the Time" (2020) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #65 Gem Mint 10.0

“The Devil All the Time“ (2020)

Director: Antonio Campos

Writer: Antonio Campos (screenplay), Paul Campos (screenplay), Donald Ray Pollock (novel)

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Michael Banks Repeta, Sebastian Stan, Eliza Scanlen, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Harry Melling, Mia Wasikowska, Haley Bennett

Rated: R for violence, bloody/disturbing images, sexual content, graphic nudity, and language throughout

Runtime: 2h 18min

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller, Horror

Country: USA

Language: English

Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.

You might like this if you like: Crime Films, Dramas, Thrillers, Horror Movies, Dark Movies, F*cked Up Movies, Antonios Campos('s work), Bill Skarsgård, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Eliza Scanlen, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Harry Melling, Mia Wasikowska, Haley Bennett

Bill Skarsgård (left) & Michael Banks Repeta (right) in "The Devil All the Time" (2020)

I heard about this movie simply from just being huge fans of Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Bill Skarsgård, and lately Robert Pattinson. A force of a cast to begin with. I was a little nervous going in as I roughly guessed the film was either a horror or thriller. I had seen the trailer upon launch but didn’t remember too much once I finally watched.

This is a pretty dark movie. I almost couldn’t stomach it. My fiancé’ too, but we both have different things that bothered us. I think I can safely say as a general message this film has some trigger warnings. It’s pretty violent and f*cked up. Not for the faint of heart.

Tom Holland in "The Devil All the Time" (2020)

It’s not a big spoiler really but the opening scenes deal a lot with cancer and as I have been through a recent trauma with my mom it isn’t very fun to relive in cinema or anywhere else, but that’s just me. It just hit a little too close to home in a pretty disturbing way. As opposed to a more healing movie about grief like “Onward” (2020) or “50/50” (2011). There’s plenty of other disturbing scenes in the opening half and throughout but I think my fiancé and I agree that the first half is rough, but the second half gives you more room to breathe. If there was any way to scare off your adorable ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Twilight’ fans this film could’ve have been a better way to do it.

Before we get into Tom Holland and the rest of the cast I need to praise the continuously impressive work by Bill Skarsgård. I first saw him in a Swedish rom-com called “Simple Simon” (2010) aka “I rymden finns inga känslor” (2010) and it become an instant favorite that I showed to as many people as I could. I was sad not many people knew who he was and I was blown away to find out only later who his brother and father were and slapped myself for not realizing sooner. So when he became an international hit as Pennywise in Stephen King’s latest adaptation of “It” (2017-2019) I was over the moon for him! His range is phenomenal. I think his father and brother are some of the best drama actors around but Bill has got some of the strangest and widest range I’ve seen in an actor. He showed me a whole new side of terrifying in “The Devil All the Time” (2020). The whole story is absolutely bone chilling to think about. Every actor who’s supposed to be terrifying feels terrifying to me. Bill in particular, mainly because I expected it from him having just gotten off two “It” (2017-2019) films, I was surprised with because I thought I had seen it all from Pennywise. This is arguably a much more horrifying role.

Sebastian Stan in "The Devil All the Time" (2020)

It’s not a conventional horror movie to me and feels too horrific for a thriller. At the same time it’s a brilliant action drama. The first half with Bill Skarsgård feels straight horror then by the time we get to the other half of the film it begins to feel more like an action thriller. Tom Holland does an amazing job as the grown up Arvin. I wasn’t surprised at his dramatic side because I first saw him in “The Impossible” (2012) which I loved him in and showed me early on his acting skills, but I was looking forward to seeing him come back… to the dark side from playing ‘Spider-Man’ for so long.

Sebastian Stan I wasn’t aware of until he first played Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier in the ‘Captain America’ (2011-2016) franchise but after that I started noticing him in other work like “I, Tonya” (2017) and only later realized I had seen him years ago in a film called “The Covenant” (2006). He’s tremendous in this movie.

Robert Pattinson in "The Devil All the Time" (2020)

Robert Pattinson has been growing on me lately with “Tenet” (2020), “The Batman” (2021) and this film. I loved what he did with his voice in this film it was so creepy. He was certainly a standout and his character was not at all what I was expecting.

There’s so many talented people in this film it’s crazy. Harry Milling I had just seen in “The Old Guard” (2020) but I thought he played a much more interesting role in this film. Eliza Scanlen I didn’t recognize but she was outstanding. Jason Clarke and Riley Keough were great together! Michael Banks Repeta as the young Alvin too! Mia Wasikowska didn’t have a huge part but she was wonderful as always. Haley Bennett gave a tough and heartbreaking performance as Bill Skarsgard’s wife.

Jason Clarke (left) and Riley Keough (right) in "The Devil All the Time" (2020)

A tough-to-watch yet incredible film. It’s a wild ride but worth in in the end. A slick, gritty thriller with a high caliber cast of actors.

Bravo Antonio Campos! You’re a ferociously good director! I see you got a Special Thanks on “Assassination Nation” (2018) by Sam Levinson, another favorite of mine! Congrats on the new film! 👏

Written by Sam Gall on 09/28/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"The Devil All the Time is an emotionally powerful look at familial trauma, religious corruption, and one man's will to challenge his fate." - Billy Givens, We Got This Covered

"It's an ambitious, strange project that takes some big chances while knowing it will probably leave plenty wondering what they've just seen." - Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper (Singapore)

"A film that is equal parts distressing as it is touching." - Emma Wolfe, SpookyAstronauts

"An enthralling and often disturbing exposé of the dark side of a period of history we see far too often sanitised for easy consumption." - Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, ABC Radio (Australia)

"The Devil All the Time isn't an easy movie to watch...convoluted and bloodthirsty - and perhaps too much of each - but the talented people both in front of and behind the camera serve to elevate the proceedings greatly." - Allen Adams, The Maine Edge

Official Trailer:

Available on Netflix

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