Tom Holland in the Devil All The Time

Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson Square off in The Devil All the Time Trailer

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There are few things I’ve been this excited about in 2020, but Netflix’s The Devil All The Time adaptation is a movie that has intrigued me from the start. With a great cast drawing us into the world of terrible people from Knockemstiff, Ohio, The Devil All The Time is the kind of story where there isn’t a single person who is innocent. There are people you care about and worry for, but everyone is complicit in something.

Premiering on Netflix this September, The Devil All The Time follows the stories of multiple people, all converging back in Knockemstiff. One of the main characters, Arvin Russell (Tom Holland), is forced to confront his father’s wrongdoing while squaring off against unholy preacher Preston Teagardin (Robert Pattinson).

In the trailer for the Netflix film, it’s clear that this isn’t someplace you want to be, and Arvin’s journey from a “saint” to a sinner is going to be incredibly interesting.

The official synopsis for the movie explores the cast of characters we’ll be meeting in the movie:

“In Knockemstiff, Ohio and its neighboring backwoods, sinister characters — an unholy preacher (Robert Pattinson), twisted couple (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), and crooked sheriff (Sebastian Stan) — converge around young Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and his family. Spanning the time between World War II and the Vietnam war, director Antonio Campos’ THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME renders a seductive and horrific landscape that pits the just against the corrupted. Co-starring Bill Skarsgård, Mia Wasikowska, Harry Melling, Haley Bennett and Pokey LaFarge, this suspenseful, finely-woven tale is adapted from Donald Ray Pollock’s award-winning novel.”

Look: The original book is bonkers. That’s the only way I can think to explain it. I read it last year and couldn’t put it down because every time you think you have it figured out, something comes in and changes everything you thought. It’s a dark, twisted, sadistic world where you can’t trust anyone, and I’m fully invested in how they’re going to bring it to life onscreen.

Each chapter follows a different POV (sometimes doubling up, but telling all these characters’ stories), and you’re thrown back and forth between their lives while reading, so telling this tale in movie format, especially with how the book jumped around, is going to be a feat.

The Devil All The Time isn’t going to be for everyone—I am just going to say that now—but it is the kind of character piece that will have a lot of mixed reactions. I, for one, cared about Arvin while reading the book because we first meet him when he’s a young kid who is brought into this terrible world by his father’s doing, and as he grows, he wants answers and to protect those close to him. So, I’m interested to see how the film brings him to life and can’t wait to be caught up in this world that author Donald Ray Pollock built.

(image: Glen Wilson/Netflix © 2020)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.