Where the Devil Roams
Director: The Adams Family
Starring: Tyler Posey, Zelda Adams, John Adams
The Adams Family returns to Fantasia following 2021’s Hellbender with their next creepy and kooky feature, Where the Devil Roams. Is it mysterious and spooky? We’ll see. Also, enough Addams Family puns (it’s not even spelled the same…)
Once more, the family - Tobey Poser, John, and Zelda Adams - star in their own film, and there’s something admirable about the indie family vibe that this dynamic brings to their films. Though this time around, they go bigger than before in terms of scope and cast, but not so much on narrative.
"The film relies more on its visual flair and almost poetic aura to further proceedings. Now, Where the Devil Roams is visually delicious, which helps"
The story focuses on Eve (Zelda Adams), Maggie (Poser), and Seven (John Adams) as they travel the United States as part of a touring carnival in the waning days of the profession, and each is carrying their own struggles or demons which causes them to perform acts of extreme violence on anyone who would think to come between them as a family, or simply to get them what they need. As is the Adams’ style, Where the Devil Roams is catering to a niche audience, the film is not geared to explode into the mainstream but the Adams’ don’t seem overly concerned by that, for them, filmmaking is what’s important, and telling their story.
Unfortunately, despite a few grisly moments, the story is a meandering one. For a ninety-minute feature, the pacing felt awry and the lack of a coherent story hurt the film overall. Instead, the film relies more on its visual flair and almost poetic aura to further proceedings. Now, Where the Devil Roams is visually delicious, which helps. Transitioning from colour to black-and-white, the film feels disconcerting and there is an air of menace lingering over every scene, it’s just the story is pretty weak and uninteresting in comparison. Not content with directing and starring in the film the family also provides the music which provides another highlight, the family band Hellbender coming up trumps again in this department.
Despite the low budget, Where the Devil Roams delivers some great gore and high-quality horror effects that belie the lean bank account and provide some genuinely creepy, yet fascinating, sequences, and the final shots are as effective as any you’ll see this year. It’s just a shame the film cannot compare narratively, and what could have been great, is instead simply good.
July 28th 2023