The Devil All the Time is a 2020 American psychological thriller film directed by Antonio Campos, from a screenplay co-written with his brother Paulo Campos, based on the novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock, who also serves as the film’s narrator. The cast includes Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson, whose characters’ stories weave together.
The Devil All the Time was released in select theaters on September 11, 2020, and on Netflix on September 16, 2020. It received mixed reviews from critics, but received praise for the performances of Holland and Pattinson.
During World War II, while serving in the Solomon Islands, U.S. Marine Willard Russell finds Gunnery Sergeant Miller Jones skinned and crucified by Japanese soldiers. Willard ends Jones’s agony by shooting him behind the ear. After the war, on his way home to Coal Creek, West Virginia, Willard passes through Meade, Ohio, where he meets Charlotte, a waitress at a diner and a photographer named Carl Henderson. Willard and Charlotte marry and move to Knockemstiff, Ohio, where they have a son who they name Arvin.
In 1950, Helen Hatton marries Roy Laferty. Roy is a bizarre, albeit charismatic, evangelical preacher who pours venomous spiders over his head while giving sermons to demonstrate his faith in God. Helen and Roy have a daughter named Lenora. During a sermon, Roy is bitten by a spider on his face and has a severe allergic reaction that affects his grip on reality. He comes to believe that he has the ability to resurrect the dead and takes Helen out in the woods. He stabs her in the neck with a screwdriver before trying and failing to resurrect her. Roy hitchhikes and is picked up by a married couple, Carl Henderson and his wife Sandy. Carl and Sandy are revealed to be serial killers who pick up male hitchhikers and encourage them to have sex with Sandy while Carl takes photographs before murdering them. Roy refuses to have sex with Sandy, so Carl shoots and kills him.
In 1957, Charlotte is diagnosed with cancer. Willard believes he can influence God with fervent prayer to remove cancer from his wife’s body. So he prays to God and sacrifices Arvin’s dog, kneeling before a rustic cross he had erected in the woods behind his house. Nevertheless, Charlotte dies despite his efforts and Willard commits suicide by slitting his throat. Arvin, now orphaned, goes to live with his grandmother Emma, where he meets Lenora, who becomes his adopted “stepsister”.
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