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October 2, 2020

At the Movies: Back roads brutality in ‘The Devil all the Time'

AP Film Writer

Say what you will, Antonio Campos' “The Devil all the Time” lives up to its title. Spanning numerous generations and set across a bleak and blood-stained Appalachian landscape, Campos' adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock's novel weaves together narrative threads of suicide, sexual assault, cancer, crucifixion and murder by screwdriver. Cruelty runs 24/7. The devil is working overtime.

Taking place in the hills of West Virginia and southeastern Ohio, “The Devil all the Time” resides during an era that might be called, historically, a time of peace. It is anything but. Written by Campos (”Christine”) and his brother Paulo Campos, with Pollock serving as narrator, the film opens with a soldier, Willard (Bill Skarsgard, terrific), just returned home from World War II. He falls in love with a beautiful young woman at a restaurant counter (Haley Bennett), scrounges together enough money for a house and has a son. Life isn't easy but it's good.

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