The Devil All the Time: Star-studded Midwestern Gothic comes to Netflix

The Devil All The Time: Tom Holland as Arvin Russell. Photo Cr. Glen Wilson/Netflix © 2020
The Devil All The Time: Tom Holland as Arvin Russell. Photo Cr. Glen Wilson/Netflix © 2020 /

Tom Holland and a cast of modern horror veterans unite for Netflix’s The Devil All the Time, a Midwestern Gothic with atmosphere to spare.

Robert Pattinson has been an exciting, unpredictable presence in indies like CosmopolisThe RoverHigh Life, and last year’s masterpiece, The Lighthouse. And while I think he’ll be great in The Batman, I’m considerably less interested in another iteration of a well-trod superhero. In The Devil All the Time, Pattinson continues to round out his diverse CV by portraying a menacing revival preacher at the center of this Midwestern-Gothic ensemble piece.

Based on the novel by Donald Ray Pollock, this Netflix feature sounds extremely promising:

"“In Knockemstiff, Ohio and its neighboring backwoods, sinister characters – an unholy preacher (Pattinson), twisted couple (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), and crooked sheriff (Sebastian Stan) – converge around young Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and his family.“"

Director Antonio Campos is no stranger to films about “sinister characters.” He gave Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin) his star turn in the dark drama Afterschool, and worked similar magic for Brady Corbet (the U.S. remake of Funny Games) in Simon Killer. A filmmaker who’s always been fascinated by the cold remove of his characters, Campos’ efforts are made unsettling through an unflinching realism.

That said, the trailer for The Devil All the Time seems to take place in a darkly pulpy timeline, where each character appears to possess a mysterious secret.

The images of war and crucifixion contrasted against the unsettling sight of a foreboding, one-room church surrounded by a cemetery set an ominous tone, as does the presence of an oily photographer (as a rule of thumb, photographers in horror or dark drama tend to be sleazy types).

Rounding out the cast is a brilliant collection of modern horror veterans, from Bill Skarsgard (It), Keough (The Lodge), Clarke (2019’s Pet Sematary), and Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak). Meanwhile, the top-billed Holland looks to be shedding his Marvel spider-skin to engage with some darker material, and I’m all for it.

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Catch The Devil All the Time on Netflix Sept. 16.

Let us know what you think of the trailer in the comments.