Sunday, 4 May 2014

Devil's Due (2014)

Devil's Due (2014)
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring:Allison Miller, Zach Gilford and Sam Anderson
Running Time: 89 min

So to be honest, I was a little bit excited about this movie because this is the first full length release for the Radio Silence team ( Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez and Chad Villella).  I really enjoyed their work on V/H/S, the special effects were killer, and I have enjoyed their Youtube shorts.  They are funny and quick but have some clever scares in them.  So this should be pretty good, right?

Zach and Samantha are getting married and the night before Zach breaks the tradition and sneaks into their house to tell Samantha that he loves her and he will be carrying a camera around with him all the time because he wants to capture every moment of their lives together, even the mundane ones. No Zach, that doesn't sound creepy and weird at all.
The next day, the get married and life is good at the reception.  Everybody is telling jokes, having fun and during the speeches, Samantha thanks everyone for loving her and accepting her into the family because she is an orphan and she has never had family before this, ever.  Everybody cheers and they party all through the night.  The next morning, Zach and Samantha leave to the Dominican Republic for their honeymoon.  They enjoy the oddly empty beaches and tour around the city.  On the last night there, Samantha has her palm read and is given a very cryptic message from the fortune teller.  Sam and Zach leave the shop creeped out and are instantly lost in the street for some reason.  Luckily, there is a cab that picks them up and they head back to the hotel.  While on the way back, the cab driver invites them to a crazy party in a bad part of town, so being tourists, who have already gotten lost once, of course, they agree to go to this party with a strange cab driver but just for one drink.  When they get there, they are lead through some seriously red flag, dark tunnels to a cave rave and everything is awesome.  They have no idea where they are, so they get so drunk that they pass out.  Luckily, Zach's camera is working, kind of, and tape start recording after they pass out.  It records some crazy devil worship ritual shit and then the camera fades to black, magically cuz that's what camera's do.
  The next morning, Sam and Zach are back at the hotel, feeling hungover and awful but they have to catch a plane.  Sam asks how they got back and Zach says that the cab must have brought them back.  They could check the camera, to find out if they were sodomized by strangers in the night, but they don't.  They fly back to America and time passes on with some nonsense about hanging out with friends, that you never see again and other shit, and then Sam announces to Zach that she is pregnant.  Hooray!  They see the doctor, tell the family and everyone is happy.  Unfortunately, Sam is experiencing so strange pregnancy pangs, like waking up in the middle of the night with a demonic look and glint in her voice, eating raw meat out of the package at the grocery store and having super strength, which enables her to smash car windows with her hands with relative ease.  This, of course, doesn't seem to concern Zach right away but eventually he comes around and realizes something is wrong.  Is this pregnancy a super natural doorway for the antichrist to take over the world or is Sam just looking for extra attention because she thinks she's fat? 

  There are some good scares scattered about this film and I think this may a great learning experience for everybody involved.  The production looks great and the ending is pretty good.  Allison Miller (Blood: The Last Vampire, 17 Again) and Zach Gilford (The Last Stand, Crazy Kind of Love) are somewhat likeable in this film and do their best with what they got.

 My biggest issues is with the story itself and using the found footage style.  Things happen in the movie but there is no reaction to them happening. For instance, Sam wakes up in the middle of the night, looks and sounds like a demon, the audience gasps in terror, and then the next day it's forgotten?  If my wife did that, I'd be showing my wife the tape the next day and we'd be going to see some doctors or priests.  Also, there is a scene with a little girl playing hide & seek in the house and not only does Sam scare the crap out of her, which the girl runs tearfully downstairs, but then Sam continues to carve a sacred symbol into the floor.  One , the child's parents don't react in anyway to this which is totally unrealistic and two, nobody notices the carving in the floor until a month later?!? So, Zach doesn't go into the nursery for a month, I don't think so.  For every action, there must be a reaction and this film doesn't follow the rules and therefore it becomes unbelievable.

  As for the found footage style, which has been done to death, I didn't really have that big of an issue with it other than I have no idea who is telling this story.  Who is the central character and where are the getting all this footage?  The director's response to this is "Devil's Due doesn't pretend to be footage that anyone has found or compiled, it's simply a story told through cameras that exists in that world. In that sense, it's a bit of an experiment that we were able to have fun with and as the character's lives spiral out of control, we're able to mirror that journey visually by shifting to different POVs."  If it isn't found footage then why bother trying to kill yourself and your story, trying to fit cameras into the story.  In the special features, they even talk about coming up with great scary ideas, but then killing them because they can't find a way to fit them in the P.O.V world.  Why not just make a good traditional movie and save yourself so headaches.

Also, I was disappointed because there really wasn't any funny bits in the film.  As I mention before the Radio Silence teams other projects have had a bit of absurd dark humour to them and this really lacks any of that flavour.

  As for the special features on the Blu-ray/DVD, there are a collection of deleted scenes, which a couple of them, I think I would have preferred in the film.  The alternate Father Anderson scene, Father Anderson is played by Sam Anderson (Slackers, Critters 2) and I dug the longer ending.  The Father Anderson scene is a bit more helpful, still doesn't explain why he won't help, but it is less spastic and crazy.  Also, I prefer the longer end, it makes a little more sense as well.
  There are couple of extra scenes, I have no idea where they came from and why they're not considered deleted scenes.  One of a bird, bursting into flames, yawn, and another of two children discovering the ritual in sewers.  This would have been better in the film because it was creepy and they were breaking the rules anyway, so why not shoehorn it in.  As well as there is an introductory video to the Radio Silence team and they talk about their past projects, not V/H/S, and the filming of Devil's Due.  It's interesting but there isn't really that much insight into making this film.  The extras end with past projects of the Radio Silence team, which are little shorts that are rather enjoyable and you could probably find on the Youtube.

  I wasn't expecting "Rosemary's Baby" and I would have been happy with something like "Baby's Blood" or at this point, "Born" because then I could have a chuckle.  I feel bad for the Radio Silence team to be saddled with this script on there first venture into the feature film biz.  I think it would have been better if they had written their own script, then to have dealt with outside writer.  Where this script fell apart in the film making process, who knows, but this was not a very well constructed script. The scares were tacked on and not thought through at all.  The story was boring, convoluted and didn't make sense.  We didn't know anything about the characters.  How could two students afford to own that house? Did they have jobs? Why am I gonna invest time in people that I care nothing about?  At the end of the film, I'm sitting there with a lot of whys, what and how the fucks? Anyhoo, I didn't care for Devil's Due but if I were you when this film crosses your path, I'd Devil Don't.


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