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Everyone Will Burn Review | Indie Spanish Horror Breaks Boundaries


Summary

  • Everyone Will Burn is a great little independent horror film that showcases the power of originality in the genre, despite some pacing issues.
  • Macarena Gomez delivers a breakout performance as the disturbed protagonist, Maria Jose, in a compelling and emotionally complex portrayal.
  • While the film has some weirdly unemotional moments, Everyone Will Burn is ultimately a great intersection of horror trends.


The horror genre has often served as a reflection of the film industry as a whole. As such, in recent years, it’s given itself to the enemies of the cinematic purist: franchises and remakes. From The Nun 2, The Exorcist: Believer, and Insidious: The Red Door, the horror terrain has been, more or less, dominated by these often stale film series, employing the same predictable tricks and tropes that have exhausted their potency as credible horror flicks.

This space, over-saturated with unoriginal titles, has meant that new, independent movies have been fewer and further between, but when released, are often received with open, thankful arms — think Talk to Me, Barbarian, or Smile. In the instance of the Spanish-language horror, Everyone Will Burn, which is now receiving its North American premiere, we are treated to that great glimpse of the power of independent horror, and reminded emphatically that original ideas in the genre have by no means been rendered obsolete.

While it has some pacing issues and feels oddly emotionally empty or stagnant at times, Everyone Will Burn is nonetheless an excellent little horror film that combines a variety of interesting trends in the genre (religious horror, social commentary, A24-style elevated horror) while blurring all the boundaries between them.


Starting Right on the Edge

Everyone Will Burn

Release Date
December 1, 2023

Cast
Rodolfo Sancho, Rubén Ochandiano

Runtime
125 min

Genres
Horror, Drama, International

Subtitle
Spanish (with English subtitles)

Everyone Will Burn is the second feature from up-and-coming director David Hebrero, who, at just 27 years old, is beginning to establish himself not only on the domestic scene in Spain but with the movie moguls further afield in their ivory towers on America’s West Coast. The film commences with an overlay detailing that an old superstition in this quaint Spanish town led to the sacrifice of a baby in 1980 to circumvent the existential threat of an apocalypse.

Hebrero starts as he means to go on, with his protagonist very literally on the edge; Maria Jose (Macarena Gomez) stands on a bridge looking down at the cascading current below, contemplating her own suicide. Fortunately, for the film’s sake, Hebrero doesn’t nudge her over the edge but rather coaxes her down by sending his own kind of Angel, in the form of a devilish woman-child seemingly covered in soot.

Taking this unlikely spectator in, Maria questions where the young girl’s parents are before driving her to the police station. It is at this point we learn of the mysterious girl’s supernatural powers, as she miraculously manages to kill two police officers in a horrifying fashion. We soon get the lowdown on Maria’s troubled past. Being a divorcee and mother to a dead son, she believes that this teenager with dwarfism is the second coming of her deceased boy, Lolo. Naming the girl Lucia (Sofia Garcia) and, ostensibly, turning a blind eye to her homicidal treachery, the pair strike up an unbreakable mother-daughter bond, while gruesome murders occur across town.

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There is a lot to unpack in its two hours, and the film’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace occasionally threatens to throw the film off its sustained rhythm. While this isn’t a movie that is obsequiously compliant when it comes to abiding by genre conventions, the conventional religious horror card is frequently played throughout, as the town’s churchgoing residents and priest rally together to thwart these vengeful killings.

A24 Meets Indie Spanish Horror

Macarena Gomez and Sofia Garcia in Everyone Will Burn
Filmin

As the title suggests, Everyone Will Burn is inherently slow-burning, sparking and building flames toward an explosive finale. Its atmosphere is reminiscent of certain A24 films that have the breathing room to develop real dread, such as It Comes at Night, The Lighthouse, Midsommar, and Men, not to mention Film4 and BFI’s religious horror masterpiece, Saint Maud. At the same time, it takes this so-called ‘elevated horror’ vibe and dovetails it with great Spanish horror cinema from this century, especially period films that find horror in old villages. The Orphanage, The Devil’s Backbone, The Blacksmith and the Devil, and this year’s Sister Death are all strong examples, and Everyone Will Burn takes that cultural specificity and blends it with the slow-burn A24 aesthetic.

While Hebrero’s film doesn’t solely rely on this unique vibe and gets thrills in a variety of ways, its ability to be incessantly disconcerting is admirable; the atmosphere inflicts this unrelenting discomfort that lingers on in Everyone Will Burn‘s underbelly, never allowing the audience a moment of reprieve. There is a profoundly contemplative nature to Hebrero’s offering, that never labors on the point nor succumbs to the predictability of the genre’s conventions — much to the film’s benefit. Everyone Will Burn successfully fuses together contemporary modernism with a sinister past, and while not a product of A24’s glittering catalog of horrors, it could feasibly be mistaken for one.

Breakout Performance by Macarena Gomez

Macarena Gomez shouting in Everyone Will Burn
Filmin

Macarena Gomez is certainly a lesser-known name in the film world. The native Spaniard has spent most of her career featuring in Spanish horrors and a string of television series, yet despite her limited exposure to film outside her homeland, her performance in Hebrero’s picture certainly begs the question of why she hasn’t attracted the longing gaze of a Hollywood casting director or two. Gomez’s display as the disturbed protagonist, Maria Jose, is Everyone Will Burn‘s anchor. She helps to lift this film from sporadic emotionless mediocrity to an all-absorbing affair, as a woman grieving the loss of her son and the breakdown of her marriage.

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Gomez portrays Maria Jose with all the depth, complexity, and torment that it requires to create such a compelling and extremely intriguing character. Jose presents this perturbed anti-hero and is complemented exceptionally by a stellar performance from Ana Milan, who plays the primary antagonist and fellow grieving mother, Tere. Frequently berated by the judgmental townsfolk, who seem to get a sadistic kick out of branding her “loco,” Gomez’s Maria effortlessly switches between a hellish rage and a more tactful approach that derives from her own trauma.

Creepy little girl in Everyone Will Burn
Filmin

Everyone Will Burn, like Get Out, Antebellum, and Candyman before it, offers social commentary on racial injustice, but also interrogates religious supremacy and the herd mentality surrounding a hypocritical, finger-pointing culture that perpetually fails those on the fringes of society. While it is really this town’s apocalyptic curse that is responsible for the demonic, supernatural plague that haunts the community, the continuous peddling of the narrative from the priest and his congregation is at the very epicenter of this Salem Witch Hunt-like trial by public opinion.

The film lends reflective of a culture focused almost entirely on a blame game, constantly seeking to find fault in others instead of looking introspectively. This is a perpetual, never-ending cycle of a group of people doing evil things to each other, always calling for a scapegoat and sacrifice. Maybe that will be the defiant Maria Jose, or maybe she’s more than they bargained for.

Everyone Will Burn will be in theaters starting December 1st (NYC, LA, Austin) on digital platforms December 5th. You can watch the trailer below:



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