Everyone Will Burn (Y todos arderán) begins with a text crawl that informs us that in 1980 the residents of Razas del Monte sacrificed a baby in the hopes it would prevent the apocalypse they believed was imminent. They’ve managed to keep it covered up, until now.
That’s replaced by a view of the countryside accompanied by the sound of tortured breathing. We see the immaculately dressed María José (Macarena Gómez, The Black Gloves, Dagon) climb up to the edge of a bridge, ready to kill herself. As she does Lucia (Sofía García) a strange-looking little girl, dirty and dishevelled, walks up behind her and asks “Mama”? Since her suicide attempt is linked to the death of her son and those responsible, including the mayor’s son, managing to escape being prosecuted this has a strong effect on her. She gets down from her perch to take the now silent girl to the police station.
Director David Hebrero (Dulcinea) and co-writer Javier Kiran (Meat) start things off in a manner that, while certainly odd seem at least plausible. That lasts until a traffic stop goes extremely badly and Lucía unleashes her powerful abilities on the cops. From that point on Everyone Will Burn becomes a bizarre journey into the supernatural as Lucía talks to her unseen father and says she killed the policemen because “nobody can be allowed to hurt Mommy”.
Of course, this will all tie back in with the events mentioned at the beginning of the film, the death of María’s son and a local prophecy from which the film takes its title. Unsurprisingly, Everyone Will Burn has more on its mind than revenge from beyond the grave and it uses these to lay into the discrete nastiness of suburban life and the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, and by extension, organized religion in general.
Part of Everyone Will Burn’s general sense of unease is the result of casting Sofía García as Lucía. This is her only listed credit and she gives a convincing performance. She also suffers from dwarfism and looks much more like a small adult than a child. Not only is this creepy in an Orphan sort of way, it’s amplified when she talks about her father and their plans for Maria. It’s also used to point up how shitty some of the locals are as they refer to her as a freak and a “dirty midget”.
The rest of the cast, especially Gómez and Ana Milán (More the Merrier, Physics or Chemistry) as Tere, the mayor’s wife are solid in their roles. Germán Torres (May God Save Us, The Intruder) however stands out as Father Abelino, the town priest who wields enough power that he not only accompanies the police on a murder investigation, he can get them to question people based on prophecy and superstition.
At just under two hours Everyone Will Burn is paced a bit too leisurely at times. Yes, there is a lot going on that needs to be covered but it frequently burns a bit to slow for its own good, letting the atmosphere it builds up dissipate during the first half. As it goes on the film’s pace does pick up as it moves through what feels like a literal witch hunt to a very unsettling finale. And don’t switch it off right away, there’s a mid-credits sequence you’ll want to see as well.
Apart from the pacing, the only real issue I had with Everyone Will Burn was the weird subtitles that were shot through with what looked like HTML tags. It didn’t get in the way of reading them but it was distracting. Overall it’s an effective film with some genuinely creepy moments.
Raven Banner Entertainment presents the North American debut of Everyone Will Burn as part of this year’s Fantastic Fest. It will screen on September 23rd and 27th, you can get details and tickets on the festival’s website. And while you wait for its release, FilmTagger has a few suggestions for similar films to hold you over.