Fantasia 2023: Our Review of ‘Where the Devil Roams’

Posted in Fantasia 2023, Festival Coverage, Movies by - July 30, 2023
Fantasia 2023: Our Review of ‘Where the Devil Roams’

Let it be known, I tried really, really hard for Where the Devil Roams, the latest venture from the Adams family. Projection issues at the world premiere meant that the film was near unwatchable, and almost certainly not a fair reflection of the artists’ work. In order to fairly assess the film, I tracked down a screener after the fact. Unfortunately, I have a simple rule: if I see a film via a screener, I’m going to write about it.

In hindsight, I should have it let it be. There’s probably some irony here, considering that the film loosely hints at the importance avoiding meddling in affairs that you shouldn’t have. Hellbender—the previous Adams family feature— doesn’t really wow me, but I could kind of see what it was going for. Where the Devil Roams is a regression in just about every way or form. Plot wise, the film is largely nonsensical, and consists of a forty-five-minute second act that is largely a non sequitur.

Normally, that isn’t too much of an issue for me. I can vibe with a film that’s more episodic than linear any day of the week, provided that film is well-made, but that isn’t the case here. The colour grade for the version I saw did have the correct colours. Unfortunately, I cannot say that there’s much aesthetic beauty to be found in the film’s dreary, leeched look. Having Zelda Adams—the best actor of the trio—play a mute character is certainly a choice. It’s definitely not one that I can say I agree with though. The film lacks any form of immersion; arguably, Riverdale’s fake football war looks realer than this. More power to you if this is your thing, but I cannot abide by moviemaking solely via mood board.

This post was written by
Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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