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Read This Before You See The Devil All The Time

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

If you like your thrillers drenched in Southern Gothic sleaze, heaped with a generous helping of violence, and served with a side of the extra weird, then get ready: The Devil All the Time is on the way. The new thriller from director Antonio Campos, based on the Donald Ray Pollock novel of the same name, is a sordid, multi-generational tale that exposes the depravity lurking just under the surface of the American heartland.

In many ways, the less you know before watching The Devil All the Time, the better. Yes, we'll tell you all about the cast, which includes a veritable murder's row of talent. Sure, feel free to learn more about Campos and his filmography, which includes both critically acclaimed indie features and episodes of some big-name TV series. We'll even give you a small taste of what you can expect from the story, although don't look for any big revelations here.

Otherwise, avoid plot summaries. Be wary of spoilers. The Devil All the Time goes some unexpected places, and each twist and turn increases the tension exponentially. Go in blind, if you can, but make sure to steel yourself first. In the world of The Devil All the Time, heroes are hard to come by.

The Devil All the Time isn't just dark, it's pitch black

The Devil All the Time may be set in small towns, but it's not a small story. It takes place over decades. It features numerous characters, all of whom are connected by blood and odd twists of fate. As a crime thriller, The Devil All the Time pulls out all the stops: Bizarre religious rituals. Serial killers. Human sacrifice. Spider-eating priests. All the murder you can handle. Yup, The Devil All the Time has it all.

At the center of it all is Arvin Russell, the teenage orphan who ties all these different plot threads together. Through Arvin, we meet his parents, and witness their horrific ends. We get to know his ultra-religious foster sister, who struggles with the temptations of a great sin. Arvin shows us what happens when a new preacher comes to town and begins preying on the weak and innocent, and his fight for justice uncovers a few secrets that many people would rather keep buried.

The Devil All the Time is messy and brutal in all the right ways, and it's not afraid to ask the hard questions. Its depiction of PTSD and the lingering effects of trauma are heartbreaking and unflinchingly honest. Its characters struggle with faith and poverty and the limits of small-town life. Look, there are reasons Donald Ray Pollock's novel won so many awards, including France's prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. The Devil All the Time is a dark story, but it's a powerful one. Just one warning: After watching, you'll never look at southern Ohio quite the same way again.

An MCU reunion, or an inter-company crossover?

You know Tom Holland best as Spider-Man, and while The Devil All the Time is much darker than Holland's superhero outings, it's easy to see some similarities between Arvin Russell and Peter Parker. Like Peter, Arvin is an orphan who's been sent to live with his relatives. He doesn't like bullies, and always fights for the little guy. Most importantly, though, Arvin is driven to do the right thing, even when it comes at a huge personal cost. There aren't many genuinely decent people in The Devil All the Time, but Arvin is certainly one of them.

Holland is joined in by actor Sebastian Stan, a.k.a. Marvel's Winter Soldier. If you only know Stan from his MCU appearances, get ready for a big surprise. Lee Bodecker might be the local sheriff, but he's as crooked as they come. Oddly enough, the story behind Stan's casting actually leads to a third connection between Marvel and The Devil All the Time: Captain America star Chris Evans was originally supposed to play Bodecker, and when scheduling conflicts forced him to drop out, Stan was a natural fit for the role.

Finally, while Robert Pattinson became famous by playing a vampire, The Devil All the Time is the first time he's played a real monster. As Reverend Preston Teagardin, the former Twilight heartthrob and future Batman plays a truly odious character. Teagardin is a preacher by trade, but he's not free from sin. In fact, he may just be the most vile person in the movie — and given The Devil All the Time's lineup of reprehensible characters, that's saying something.

A delightfully twisted supporting cast

Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, and Robert Pattinson may be the biggest names in The Devil All the Time, but they're far from the only big names. Bill Skarsgård, who scared everyone so much as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in It and its sequel, plays Arvin's father Willard, who turns to a bizarre form of Christianity when Arvin's mother Charlotte falls ill (Charlotte is played by Haley Bennett, who you might recognize from The Magnificent Seven and The Equalizer).

In addition, veteran character actor Jason Clarke plays Carl Henderson, a photographer who roams the country looking for his next subjects. By his side, you'll find his wife Sandy, portrayed in The Devil All the Time by Riley Keough, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her turn in The Girlfriend Experience, and who has appeared in everything from Mad Max: Fury Road to cult favorite Under the Silver Lake.

Finally, Dudley Dursley himself, Harry Melling, follows up his villainous turn in the Charlize Theron-led action flick The Old Guard as The Devil All the Time's Roy Laferty, a preacher whose life takes a turn for the worse when his zeal leads him astray. Sharp Objects' Eliza Scanlen plays Lenora, Arvin's pious foster sister, while Alice in Wonderland star and indie film sensation Mia Wasikowska appears as her poor, tragic mother Helen.

In other words? This movie has one hell of a cast.

For director Antonio Campos, The Devil All the Time is familiar territory

Looking at director Antonio Campos' filmography, it's easy to draw a straight line from his previous projects to The Devil All the Time. His first movie, Afterschool, is about a boarding school student who accidentally captures the deaths of two of his classmates on camera, and the creeping sense of paranoia that quickly settles over the school. His second, Simon Killer, explores the relationship between a French prostitute and an American tourist who displays increasingly sociopathic tendencies. Christine, Campos' third movie, tells the real-life story of Christine Chubbuck, a TV reporter who shot herself on live television.

Even Campos' television work fits that pattern. The Punisher episode "Cold Steel" might be a Marvel project, but it's still about a disillusioned soldier-turned-vigilante who kills without remorse. The Sinner, of which Campos directed a number of episodes, is a pitch-black crime drama that explores trauma and guilt, two themes that pop up in The Devil All the Time quite often.

Of course, The Devil All the Time has a much bigger scope than anything that Campos has made before, but the similarities are pretty clear. Like The Devil All the Time, Campos' previous work mashes up sex and crime and violence, features characters that are emotionally cut off from the bigger world, and are filmed with aggressive, unnerving style. If you liked Donald Ray Pollock's novel, then don't worry. The Devil All the Time couldn't be in better hands.