‘Everyone Will Burn’ Opens Strong But Keeps its Audience at a Distance

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Y Todos Arderán (Everyone Will Burn), dir. David Hebrero

Sofía García as Lucía. Still courtesy of Raven Banner Entertainment.

David Hebrero directs this Omen/Changeling-esque horror film that centers on a woman on the brink of suicide pulled back into the land of the living by a girl who claims to be her daughter. She’s only ever had a son, but takes to her quickly and becomes influenced by something otherworldly and beyond. It tries to weave through the community’s hatred for her family but doubles down on a legend those who live in the Spanish pueblo near Leon know by heart and see being made real in front of their eyes. For the length of this thing it should feel as scandalous or compelling as the legend feels promising on one side or the other. But virtually nothing is shared about what the townspeople believe, and not in the way that it could be argued that it’s there if you look for it or subtly spelled out, it’s simply not shared yet expects you to know it or catch on as it goes.

Maybe this is purposeful, because Y Todos Arderán gives way to a near-satirical telenovela feel from middle to end, contrasting tastefully from the film’s absolute banger of an opening sequence. It drifts away from practicing its cruelty, feeling more content to bathe the mother, María José, in hatred and malice. The angle of revenge doesn’t execute as potently as it should either, the softened melodrama hogging focus instead of exploring the consequences of the true horror María José has accepted and is willing to inflict. Which leads me back to my original question, only more pointed: could this be satirical? Possibly, but it doesn’t lean very strongly in either way. The only indication that this has a direction it defines on its own is the title sequence. For a 125-minute film that isn’t much.

Macarena Gómez as María José. Still courtesy of Raven Banner Entertainment.

That aside the performances make up the strongest components of Arderán. Macarena Gómez burns through the screen with her palpable hatred anytime she interacts with the townspeople, softening as if under a spell when talking to Lucía, her new daughter. Expertly acted and sparingly emoted in astonishing fashion by Sofía García, Lucía is the only true neutral (or closest to it) around as nearly everyone in the town has had a hand in María José’s misery. Because the performances are so strong they make something so muddled as this entertainingly watchable, even if the writing makes you feel that you’re at arms’ length for the duration. The look of the film is equally as beautiful and helps distract from its shortcomings with surprisingly expressive framing & evocative lighting in even the most mundane of settings. It ultimately feels like a homegrown version of the above-mentioned films but with sadly only a partially developed course for its otherwise compelling ideas.

Still courtesy of Raven Banner Entertainment.

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celluloid consommé

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90s kid raised by cartoon movie wolves. Twitter: @demonidisco letterboxd.com/HamburgerHarry