The Devil All the Time
The Devil All the Time
In Knockemstiff, Ohio and its neighboring backwoods, sinister characters converge around young Arvin Russell as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and his family.
Donald Ray Pollock
Michael Banks Repeta
Ever Eloise Landrum
Cory Scott Allen
Mark Jeffrey Miller
Michael H. Cole
Ivan Hoey Jr.
James H. Keating
Daniel James Vaughn
Caleb J. Thaggard
Ryan Anthony Williams
Jason Charles Hill
Leo Corey Castellano
Gary Ray Stearns
James A. Gelarden
Jared Ian Goldman
Gloria Pasqua Casny
Marc A. Hammer
Marc A. Hammer
David Vincent Rimer
Allen Lee Williams III
Jason Charles Hill
Kyle Photo Bucher
A. Patrick Storey
Donald Ray Pollock
Taglines: Some people are just born to be buried.
The film is set in the sixties of the last century. The small village of Knockerstiff, which is located in the southern United States of America, is in Ohio. Locals are barely making ends meet, surviving the aftermath of the Vietnam War and the associated financial crisis.
A World War II veteran named Willard Russell, who served in the Navy and defended his country in the battles in the Pacific, is experiencing personal drama as well. His wife is terminally ill and the man is ready to do “anything” to make her feel better. In between leaving, he continuously prays and hopes for God’s help in healing her.
Meanwhile, his son Arvin decides to take matters into his own hands. Overcoming his fears, he begins to perform bloody rituals in order for his mother to recover. Other residents of the village are no better: a local cleric named Roy is hiding from the representatives of the law, along with his friend Theodore. But all in their “frostbite” were surpassed by the Henderson family. Carl’s husband and Sandy’s wife are inveterate killer maniacs who have long gone over to the dark side and are now looking for new victims to satisfy their “unusual” needs.
Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.
Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.
Based on The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
Creators: Antonio Campos
Director: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos
Star Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson
Producer (s): Jake Gyllenhaal, Riva Marker, Randall Poster, Max Born
Cinematographer: Lol Crawley
Production House: Nine Stories Productions, Bronx Moving Company
Music: Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans
Original network / Official Sites: Netflix
Release Year: 16 September 2020 (USA)
Runtime: 138 min
Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
In 1945, while serving in the Solomon Islands, U.S. Marine Willard Russell finds the still-breathing body of Gunnery Sergeant Miller Jones, who was left to die on a cross by the Japanese. Willard gives Jones a coup de grâce by shooting him in the head. After the incident, Willard is on his way home to Coal River (West Virginia). He stops in Meade, Ohio, where he meets and falls in love with Charlotte Russell, a waitress at a cafe, at the same photographer Carl Henderson meets his future wife Sandy. Three years later, Charlotte and Willard get married and move to Knockemstiff, Ohio, where they have a child, who they name Arvin.
In 1950, back in Coal River, Helen Hatton, a woman who lost her family in a fire, is married to preacher Roy Laferty. After the pair conceive a child named Lenora, Roy stabs Helen to death with a screwdriver out in the woods, believing to have the power to bring people back from the dead in a hallucination caused by a spider bite. Realizing his mistake, Roy decides to go back to get Lenora, who is being watched by Willard’s mother Emma and uncle Earskell. Roy hitches a ride with Carl and Sandy, but discovers they are serial killers who take pictures of their male hitchhiking victims to satisfy Carl’s necrophilia. As Roy and many others are killed, Sandy becomes increasingly jaded with Carl.
In 1957, Willard builds a sanctuary with a cross in the woods behind his house in Knockemstiff and begins to pray as a way to remember Miller. Despite his newfound faith, Willard teaches Arvin, now nine years old, to beget violence with more violence. When Charlotte is diagnosed with cancer, Willard becomes obsessed with praying for her health and forces Arvin to do so as well, leading to him killing Arvin’s dog Jack as a sacrifice to God before hanging his body on the cross. Charlotte eventually dies from cancer, and Willard, in his grief, commits suicide. After showing Sandy’s brother, corrupt police officer Lee Bodecker, the body, Arvin is moved to Coal River to live with Emma and Earskell, as well as Lenora, who has been adopted by Emma.
In 1965, Arvin is gifted his father’s Luger pistol on his birthday. At church, Arvin’s family meets the new preacher, Reverend Preston Teagardin, who embarrasses Emma by calling out her welcome greeting of chicken livers, causing Arvin to develop a grudge. A few days later, while Arvin violently confronts a group of bullies who had been picking on Lenora, the pious Lenora is seduced by Preston and has sex with him. After Lenora discovers she is pregnant, she tells Preston, who denies the assault and advises her to abort the pregnancy. Not wanting to bring shame to the family, Lenora decides to commit suicide in the family barn. She changes her mind last minute, but stumbles and accidentally asphyxiates.
Arvin is informed of Lenora’s pregnancy and deduces Preston was the father after stalking him for weeks and seeing him seduce other girls. After giving a goodbye to Emma and Earskell, Arvin confronts Preston at the church, killing him with the Luger before fleeing town. Intending to bury Jack, Arvin begins hitchhiking to Knockemstiff and is picked up by Carl and Sandy. Sandy contemplates killing Carl and running off with Arvin, but upon seeing Carl’s gun and realizing their true intentions, Arvin kills the couple in self-defense.
After Arvin arrives in Knockemstiff, Lee, who is now the sheriff, learns of Sandy’s and Preston’s deaths, as well as that Arvin is the prime suspect. To preserve his image for his re-election campaign, Lee burns the evidence of Carl and Sandy’s wrongdoing, and sets off after Arvin for revenge. They confront each other at the sanctuary, and Arvin manages to kill Lee. Before leaving, Arvin gives Lee the last piece of evidence against Sandy, then buries the Luger with his dog in the sanctuary. Arvin is then picked up by a hippie, and Preston and Lee’s deaths are eventually discovered by the police. During the drive, Arvin remembers his childhood as he begins to fall asleep, contemplating his future as a husband or as a fighter in the Vietnam War, both like his father.