Everyone Will Burn (Y todos arderán) - Fantastic Fest North American Premiere
Director: David Hebrero
Starring: Macarena Gomez, Rodolfo Sanchez, Sofia Garcia, Ana Milán, Rubén Ochandiano, Germán Torres
Written by: David Hebrero, Javier Kiran
Produced by: Enrique Garcia-Gasco, Deja Gordon, David Hebrero, Javier Kiran
Cinematography by: Ona Isart
Original Score by: Joan Vilà
On the verge of contemplating suicide, a woman befriends a strange little girl who could be connected to a local legend about stopping an impending apocalypse.
No matter what strange and innocuous corner of the world you go to, small town mentality not only exists, it lives and breathes and flourishes at the expense of vulnerable people. It is particularly strong in communities with a thriving religious hold and that's precisely what is going on in the small village of Leon, Spain in David Hebrero's excellent 'Everyone Will Burn'.
Our vulnerable person in question is Maria José, a woman who wants to end her life because she just can't get over the tragic death of her son years prior. She climbs a small wall over the edge of a stoney bridge, prepared to let her body drop into the cold river below. But her suicide attempt is disturbed by an ominous young girl covered in dirt and clearly confused. Maria José cannot bare to see the girl in distress so she climbs down from the bridge edge and decides to drive her to the police station for help. On her way she is stopped by police officers. Things get out of hand and a police officer attempts to arrest her. But all of a sudden the other police officer stabs his partner then bursts into flames. Safe to say it's one of the most striking and compelling opening sequences I have watched in a very long time and it had me hooked straight away,
The little girl calls Maria José her Mum, which is obviously not true, but Maria José takes her to her home under the pretence that she is actually her niece instead. But soon strange things begin to happen. Locals have accidents. Crops start dying. A national plague cultivates. The local community begin to suspect that the little girl, who is now known as Lucia, is actually a prophesied effigy of evil that will bring about the end of days as part of a legendary myth that the town has adhered to for decades. Maria José must decide whether to oust Lucia to the local community or whether to stand by her side to the bitter end.
'Everyone Will Burn' is a stunning film that really lit a fire in my belly, helped by a thunderous performance from leading lady Macarena Gomez. It tackles the theme of the end of the world and how an ancient prophecy will bring about the apocalypse in the form of a child. It also heavily explores the idea of systemic bigotry, religious fanaticism and "mob mentality" within small knit communities. And particularly addresses the idea of "different" being uncanny or evil, a thought that is extremely relevant in today's society. Although it's a very serious topic and there's some brutal scenes, the film weirdly manages to allow some humour to simmer through which actually disjoints the tone a little bit at times.
Gomez is joined by a formidable supporting cast including Ana Milán as her arch nemesis (and fellow bereaved mother) and Germán Torres as the esteemed Padre Abelino, the local priest who has a curious hold over the entire town. It's pure fire when Gomez and Milán share the screen together.
The premise becomes a bit jumbled towards the end and it does feel like sometimes the film is trying just a little too hard but the cast make it all worth it and the finale, as inconceivable as it gets, does manage to pull on your heartstrings. Sofia Garcia, who plays Lucia, does a great job of pulling off being both a menacing devil child with X-Men like superpowers and also the sympathetic lost little girl. There's a few scenes where she perhaps goes over the top with her laughing but it's still highly entertaining.
- Gavin Logan
'Everyone Will Burn' received it's North American Premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 23rd