Tuesday, January 21, 2014

FILM REVIEW: Devil's Due (2014)


Kinda weird how two found footage films involving demonic possession and satanic cultists came out in the very same month. Is it coincidence? Or is it a sign of things to come. Hopefully...it's just coincidence. Also...sweet Spanish poster!

I went into the film Devil's Due  not expecting too much. I mean...I kinda saw a different version of the same thing a couple of weeks prior when I went to see The Marked Ones. Still...if you had to watch one of these found footage/demonic possession/satanic cultists films...Devil's Due  is perhaps the better of the two.

The biggest draw for this particular film is the fact that Radio Silence (you might know them as the filmmakers responsible for the final tape in the original VHS  film, as well as their YouTube shorts) is in charge of helming this film. As their first feature, they do a great job of continuing the frenzied dread that they started in the VHS film. As a matter of fact, you might consider Devil's Due as a spiritual cousin to the 10/31/98  segment from that film. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett do expert work of crafting a competent film full of imaginative scares and tension. It's found footage. But, at least it's compelling enough to hold your interest most of the way. Unlike The Marked Ones. Also, extra no-points if you can spot the blatant "Radio Silence painting" in the film.


The premise is your usual "young couple goes on their honeymoon in some third world country and ends up getting impregnated by the spawn of Satan and records everything" sort of thing. Lovely Alison Miller plays the common sense-lacking newly wed, Samantha. And Zach Gilford plays Mr. Aww Shucks, himself...Zach. Gilford is the obvious stand out in the film. He goes from love-struck, doe-eyed hubby to "what the fuck is going on here" with a natural plausibility. Unfortunately, his character is written without any true depth, so most of his decision-making is a bit frustrating because you kind of get the sense that the real Zach would've done stuff differently in the film. Still, it's nice to watch a young actor actually breathe life into a role not meant for any kind of profoundness.

Devil's Due  has much more high points than it does low points...which is mostly thanks to Radio Silence and their understanding of general pacing, as well as a realistic approach to found footage. For instance, if some kind of weird shit happens, people drop the camera and actually do stuff...instead of filming the whole goddamn thing for the sake of the sub-genre. It's a nice detail that helps the viewer tolerate what's going on in the film better. Of course, there are tricks utilized...like the hidden camera thing and the sport cam thing that help create a more plausible environment.


The gore is pretty decent, as well. Altho, the filmmakers certainly utilize CGI whenever possible, there's enough practical stuff here that'll make SFX fans happy. Unfortunately, there's no real hot girl-on-girl action like in Here Comes the Devil...so, I can't really award the film any extra points in that department.

Perhaps the one glaring flaw that the film possesses is the fact that it borrows/steals liberally from other, much better films. Devil's Due  is derivative like a motherfucker...and it's too bad, because there's certainly enough potential for some really cool stuff here. But, it's still better than The Marked Ones...if only marginally.

I really don't have much else to say about Devil's Due...other than it's a decent Sunday 5 dollar matinee. It doesn't bring anything new to the genre...but, it doesn't necessarily piss all over it, either...like some of its found footage predecessors...*COUGH*DEVIL INSIDE*COUGH*...oh, man...excuse me. I must've swallowed a sucky horror film...or something. Anyway, Devil's Due  is a fun rental on a cold lonely dark night at home. It's got stuff that'll make you not wanna venture out to the kitchen for another bag of popcorn...but, it also has stuff that'll make you roll your eyes enough to actually venture out to the kitchen for that second bag of popcorn. It's the kind of forgettable horror film that won't make you feel like you actually wasted 89 minutes of your life. 



Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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